Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Next Step - Drill and Punch

My vet was unable to extract the rest of Misty's tooth on Wednesday, even with a variety of interesting dental tools graciously loaned from an equine dentist with whom she has been consulting.  The root is holding strong, but the tooth is riddled with micro-fractures and my vet cannot get a grip without causing the tooth to break into tiny pieces. 

The next step is to take Misty to the equine hospital near Denver and the dentist there will drill into Misty's jaw and punch the tooth out.  I'm just sick about it, but it appears to be the only option now. The tooth has to come out or it will be a chronic problem.

I'm worried and dread the idea of a hole drilled into Misty's jaw.  I don't know what to expect yet with aftercare and healing.  This will be another learning experience.  I just want to get it over with so Misty can heal and get back to normal.   My vet is arranging the appointment so she can be there too.  I hope we can get it done next week.


  1. Poor Misty. This all sounds so dramatic for a tooth extraction. Just wondering if they couldn't extract it like they do wisdom teeth, by sort of cutting it out. Hope all goes well and it's over soon.

  2. That is a good question GHM. I will ask that question and see what the dentist says. I suspect the length of the root is why pulling or punching are the common methods of extraction. You are right about this being dramatic for a tooth. It started out looking like a routine slab fracture, but has presented new challenges to my vet all the way. She does do a lot of dental work, but I think this has been the most challenging case she's had. I do have a local equine dentist I contacted initially, and their recommendation was to go to the equine hospital because they are better equipped to deal with complex dental issues on young horses. And that is what we have come to finally.

  3. Wow, nothing is easy. I completely understand your concerns... Sounds like Misty will be in good hands, regardless I wouldn't hesitate to ask as many questions as needed. Wishing Misty (and you) the best!

  4. Call the vet clinic ahead of time and get the oral surgeon to explain the various ways of extracting the tooth and what the risks are and what the recovery is like, and what factors enter into the decision about which method to use. They should be willing to do this for you - I usually offer to pay for the time on the phone although they don't always want payment.

    Dawn did have one tooth (a lower molar) that abscessed - she had a huge swelling on her jaw that ultimately calcified and then has gradually disappeared over the years. The tooth wasn't removed - she had several courses of antibiotics to resolve the infection. Don't know if that's an option in your case.

    Good luck and let us know how things go.

  5. I have a request, provided you are comfortable with sharing this information. Please tell us about the cost. Many of us have not had this type of experience, and I, for one, like to be prepared with that kind of knowledge when dealing with "what ifs." I also completely understand if you don't want to talk about it.

  6. Poor Misty, and you. I'd be a mess of nerves and worry too. Good thoughts thrown at you.

  7. Poor Misty. Poor Once Upon - it will probably be harder on you than on the horse! (At least the horse will have 'happy' drugs!)
    I saw a horse undergoing the drill and punch routine. It looked gruesome but the horse was in a happy place.
    I think it is neat that your vet is going to be there as well.

  8. All I can say is that I wish you both luck with everything. It sounds like your vet is pretty conscientious, trying to do the best for you. Hope all goes smoothly for you and Misty.

  9. aurora, thanks for the well wishes. I have a list of question I'm writing for both vets.

    Kate, good advice, thanks. I'll be talking to my vet some more. I'm still waiting for her to call me back after out appointment last week.

    Leah, no problem. I'll reveal the total cost when we're done. Right now, with the slab removal, the many, many follow ups to that with sedation, cleaning, repacking, xrays, 2-night stay at the clinic and that partial extraction, the bill is around $1,500.00...and that's with some discounting. The equine hospital will probably be more for one visit there. I've not received an estimate yet.

    Thanks for the good thoughts Jeni. I need them. It is very frustrating and depressing to feel so helpless to get this resolved once and for all.

    Dreaming, I'd like to hear about the procedure you watched. I don't suppose the equine hospital administers sedatives to horse owners as they sit in the waiting room. I will probably have to rely on chocolate.

    Thanks RuckusButt. I do think my vet has tried to take the most economical and least invasive approach, but she's been thrown a curve ball with every attempt to remove this tooth. I'm ready to go to the large equine hospital, despite the expense, just to get this done and over with.

  10. I would be fretting too. It is a big deal to go drilling into anyone's mouth. But it sounds like the right thing to do! Get that ole tooth out of there so Misty won't have to deal with it anymore. Then, once she's healed she'll be better than ever without it nagging at her. Be Gone Bad Tooth!

  11. Ouch! Poor Misty. I have heard of this happening before. From what I remembered it wasn't as hard on the horse as it was the owner. Sometimes I think there are a lot of treatments that are like that. We humans can think about what it all entails while the horse only knows when they hurt or feel better.

  12. Wow that's really awful. Sorry it didn't turn out to be simple. I'm sure it's been done a million times and won't be a problem, but I understand your stress and worry. I'll be thinking about Misty.

    Thank you for your compliments on Faran. We're really happy with him and love him already. :)

    I do clicker training with my horses and dogs. It's a lot of fun and pretty much impossible to do wrong once you understand a few rules. If you ever decide to try it out and want/need help or advice I'm always happy to help.

    Good luck with Misty.