How Much Is It To Remove A Loose Dog Tooth?

Dogs lose teeth just like humans do. Puppies begin losing their deciduous or “baby” teeth around 12-16 weeks of age to make room for their permanent adult teeth. The permanent teeth begin coming in around 16-20 weeks. By the time a puppy reaches 6 months old, they typically have all of their adult teeth. Adult dogs can also have dental issues like periodontal disease or injuries that cause their permanent teeth to loosen or fall out.

A loose tooth can cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty eating. It also leaves an area vulnerable to infection. For these reasons, it is important to remove a loose puppy tooth or loose adult tooth as soon as possible. Allowing a loose tooth to remain can lead to gum infections, abscesses, and tooth decay.

While some very loose teeth may fall out on their own, most require extraction by a veterinarian to avoid issues. Knowing what to look for, when to remove loose teeth, and how much it costs can help dog owners make the best decisions for their pet’s health and comfort.

Signs of Loose Teeth

There are several signs that may indicate your dog has a loose tooth. According to the American Kennel Club, the most common signs of loose teeth in dogs include:

  • Bleeding, redness, or swelling around the gumline – This could indicate inflammation or infection around the tooth. If left untreated, it can lead to advanced gum disease (source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/what-to-do-about-your-dogs-loose-tooth/).
  • Difficulty eating – Your dog may show signs of pain or discomfort when chewing hard food. They may drop food from their mouth, leave food uneaten, or take a long time to eat (source: https://bluepet.com/blog/loose-teeth-in-dogs/).
  • Drooling – Excessive drooling can be a sign of mouth discomfort or infection (source: https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/what-to-do-about-your-dogs-loose-tooth/).
  • Whining/showing signs of mouth pain – Your dog may cry, whimper, or paw at their mouth, indicating something is wrong (source: https://bluepet.com/blog/loose-teeth-in-dogs/).

Your dog’s front teeth are usually the ones that become loose first. Keep an eye out for any changes in behavior that could signal a problem with their teeth.

When to Remove Loose Teeth

Generally, a puppy’s loose tooth should be removed once it is hanging by just a thread. This indicates the permanent tooth is ready to erupt and the loose deciduous tooth needs to come out for the adult tooth to properly come through the gums [1].

However, there are some exceptions where a deciduous tooth does not become loose and the permanent tooth grows in elsewhere. These retained deciduous teeth should be extracted soon to avoid malocclusion problems. Leaving them in too long risks potential infection, gum disease, and tooth decay [2].

Overall, it’s ideal to remove a very loose deciduous tooth in puppies once it’s barely hanging on to allow the permanent tooth to erupt properly. But any retained deciduous teeth should also be extracted in a timely manner to prevent oral health issues.

Cost to Remove Loose Teeth

The cost to have a loose tooth removed from a dog ranges from $100 to $300 on average, according to Betterpet (https://betterpet.com/dog-tooth-extraction-cost/). This typically includes anesthesia and the actual extraction procedure. Often, extractions are bundled with other procedures like spay/neuter surgeries to save on anesthesia costs.

The price can vary based on the vet’s location, their experience level, specific protocols and medications used, and aftercare needed. More complicated extractions involving baby teeth, molars, or multiple teeth will be more expensive. Basic extractions of single, loose incisor teeth are generally on the lower end of the $100-$300 range.

Factors like your geographic location, the vet hospital’s prices, the number of teeth being removed, if anesthesia is required, medications prescribed, and aftercare recommendations will all contribute to the final cost of tooth extractions.

DIY Removal

While it may be tempting to try removing a loose puppy tooth at home, this is only recommended for baby teeth that are very close to falling out already. Any forceful pulling or wiggling risks damaging the tooth or gum tissue. According to veterinarians, it’s best to avoid extracting permanent teeth yourself and instead allow a vet to handle the procedure.

For baby teeth that are dangling by a thread, gently holding the tooth and letting the puppy shake its head may be enough for the tooth to release. Any pulling or twisting should be extremely delicate to avoid breaking the tooth off and leaving roots behind. Heavy pressure risks cracks and infection in the jawbone. Only use fingernail pressure at most.

DIY extraction always poses risks of pain, injury and excessive bleeding if not done perfectly. Dogs can easily swallow or choke on dislodged teeth. For any tooth with firm roots still intact, avoid DIY removal and see a vet to properly extract it instead. Home remedies are safest limited to very loose baby teeth already close to falling out naturally.

Professional Extraction

If a dog has a severely loose or damaged tooth, a veterinarian may recommend a professional extraction. This usually requires general anesthesia so the dog is fully sedated during the procedure. The vet will thoroughly evaluate the tooth and surrounding tissue using dental instruments. After assessing the tooth’s condition, they will detach it from the gumline and root using dental elevators and extraction forceps.

There are a few reasons a veterinarian may recommend extracting a tooth professionally rather than letting it fall out on its own:

  • The tooth is cracked, infected, or abscessed. Leaving damaged teeth in can spread bacteria and cause significant pain.
  • Only one side of the tooth is loose while the other side remains firmly attached. This makes it unlikely to detach naturally.
  • The tooth’s roots are still deeply embedded in the bone, requiring surgical extraction.
  • There is disease in surrounding teeth that also needs to be addressed.

While extracting a tooth under anesthesia may seem intensive, it allows the vet full access and control to remove the tooth safely and minimize pain. They can also clean other teeth, perform dental x-rays, and extract other damaged teeth as needed in the same procedure.

Aftercare

After a tooth extraction, your dog will need proper aftercare and monitoring to ensure they recover fully. It’s important to allow plenty of rest following the procedure, as the anesthetic can take up to 24 hours to completely wear off. Limit activity and prevent them from being too energetic or playful, which could dislodge the blood clot and delay healing.

Feeding soft foods will help avoid putting pressure on the surgical site. Wet food, bone broth, scrambled eggs and yogurt are good options. You may want to add warm water to kibble to soften it as well. Avoiding hard chews or crunchy treats can reduce irritation and inflammation. According to Hill’s Pet Nutrition, a return to regular food can typically occur within 3-5 days.[1]

Applying ice packs to the area for 10-15 minutes a few times a day can minimize swelling. Wrap the ice pack in a towel before use to prevent cold damage to the skin. Monitor for any signs of infection like discharge, excessive swelling, foul odor or change in appetite. Finish any course of antibiotics as prescribed, usually for 5-7 days.

Impact on Health

Removing loose teeth can provide several health benefits for dogs:

It reduces the risk of infection and damage from chewing. A loose tooth will likely become more wobbly over time. As the dog continues to chew with an unstable tooth, it can lead to pain, abscesses, and tooth fractures. Extracting a loose tooth prevents these issues from developing.

Removing loose deciduous teeth may improve dental alignment. If a puppy tooth becomes loose but doesn’t fall out on its own, the permanent adult tooth coming in behind it can erupt at an incorrect angle. This malocclusion can lead to dental disease. Extracting retained deciduous teeth allows the permanent teeth to properly realign.

Leaving a loose permanent tooth in place long term increases the risk of cysts forming around the root. These cysts can damage the jawbone and other teeth. It’s best to remove a loose permanent tooth before extensive cysts have time to develop.

When to Seek Vet Care

There are certain situations when you should seek veterinary care for a dog’s loose tooth rather than trying home treatments. These include:

  • Abscesses, persistent bleeding, lack of improvement. Abscesses or ongoing bleeding indicates an infection or injury that requires professional treatment (https://www.thesprucepets.com/my-dog-has-a-loose-tooth-3384929).
  • Prolonged difficulty eating. If your dog struggles to eat for more than a day or two due to the loose tooth, take them to the vet (https://bluepet.com/blog/loose-teeth-in-dogs/).
  • Signs of pain or infection. These include swelling, discharge, foul odor, loss of appetite, lethargy, and excessive drooling. They warrant an immediate vet visit (https://bluepet.com/blog/loose-teeth-in-dogs/).

Letting loose teeth issues go untreated can allow infections to spread and seriously impact your dog’s health. It’s important to get prompt professional help if home care does not resolve the problem within a couple days.

Preventing Loose Teeth

There are several ways to help prevent your dog from developing loose teeth:

Regular dental cleanings and brushing are important for preventing plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to periodontal disease and loose teeth. Brushing your dog’s teeth at home 2-3 times per week can remove plaque before it turns into tartar. Getting professional veterinary dental cleanings every 6-12 months is also recommended to fully remove tartar and plaque down to the gumline (1).

Providing dental toys and treats can also help scrape away plaque and tartar. Look for treats and toys that are Veterinary Oral Health Council approved. Some examples include Greenies, CET chews, and Nylabone dental chews (2).

It’s important to address any periodontal disease early through professional dental cleanings and treatment. Periodontal disease damages the gums and bone structure that hold the teeth in place. Treating it early provides the best chance of preventing loose teeth (1).

Making sure your dog has proper bite alignment can prevent excessive wear and trauma to the teeth. If your dog has an overbite or underbite that is leading to damage, orthodontic treatments such as braces or extraction may be needed (1).

(1) https://www.thesprucepets.com/my-dog-has-a-loose-tooth-3384929

(2) https://petsmileusa.com/blogs/healthy-pet-articles/loose-teeth-in-dogs-what-you-can-do-to-prevent-this-alarming-condition-gum-disease-best-dog-toothpaste-brush-teeth

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