By Diane Ako
Poor Inca. I took her to the vet for a routine teeth cleaning and she returned home minus two rear molars.
Gum disease. She had lost a molar as a puppy, before I even bought her, due to an accident. Matching upper and lower sets of teeth are important, because the friction of chewing the hard food helps clean the teeth. I learned this the expensive way last week.
She is seven and I have not taken her for a tooth cleaning. I'm pretty good about what I feed my dogs, and Kona never had dental issues in her 13 years. Inca's breath started to stink, so I thought it was time to go in.
The vet called me midday to ask if it was OK to pull two rotting teeth out. Yes, it was. I was surprised but agreed readily. I wasn't going to have the dog suffer, of course, and to my surprise, it only cost another $45 extra (tooth extraction is billed in 15 minute increments.)
Inca's eating soft food all week and about to get an addition to her weekly cleaning schedule of ever-so-delightful tooth brushing. She will love this, I'm sure.
Meantime, Olivia has been fascinated with the teeth. The vet sends you home with the molars that were extracted! It comes in a little pill bottle. I almost fed Inca back her own teeth when I reached for the painkillers and antibiotics this morning. All those bottles, sitting in a cluster on the counter.
At Inca's expense, I've turned this into a teachable moment for our daughter. "This is why you have to brush your teeth every day. Twice a day! Or the dentist will have to pull them out, and you need teeth to eat!"
Olivia is going to take the bottle o' teeth to class for Show & Tell. Inca's misfortune will educate another 22 children on the importance of dental hygiene! Does that mean I've ameliorated the $447 to pull those teeth out?