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True Stories

Heartwarming testimonials from our clients

Toy Poodle who had “Anesthesia-free Dental Cleanings"
  • Panda had only “Anesthesia-free Dental Cleanings” where someone used a hand scaler to scrape tartar off the outer sides of some teeth.
  • The inner surfaces of her teeth by her tongue and the roof of her mouth were not scaled (scraped).
  • Her teeth were not polished.
  • No dental x-rays were taken.
  • She became increasingly mouth-shy, meaning she didn’t want anyone to touch her mouth.
  • At 4 years old, her concerned owner brought her to a veterinarian for a dental cleaning and x-rays done under anesthesia.


  • Video while Panda was under anesthesia.
  • Watch how the very loose upper left first molar is easily rocked back and forth with just finger pressure.
  • Why is this tooth loose?
  • The upper molar is very loose because it has an abscessed root! Ouch!
  • This infected 3-rooted tooth is very painful!
  • Closer look at the same dental x-ray

  • The white dashed line shows the root tip.

  • The solid red line shows the abscess.


  • The abscessed molar was extracted, the socket grafted to help it fill in with healthy bone, and the gum closed with dissolving sutures.
  • At Panda’s two week recheck and ToothBrush Training appointment, her gum was nicely healed.
  • Her owner was amazed that she was willing to have her teeth brushed!
  • In about 1 year she will be ready for her next dental cleaning with x-rays to make sure she doesn’t suffer with infection hidden under the gums.
Key Points
  • “Anesthesia-free Dental Cleanings” DO NOT CLEAN all surfaces of every tooth, DO NOT POLISH the teeth, take NO DENTAL X-RAYS, and MISS EVERY PROBLEM hidden under the gums.

  • The American Veterinary Dental College and the American Animal Hospital Association:
    • are against “Anesthesia-free Dental Cleanings”
    • agree that anesthesia is needed to provide the professional dental care your pet needs for dental health.

Eight-year-old Retriever with Broken Upper Back Big Tooth
  • In this photo taken at his recheck after his dental treatment, Aldrich is a happy dog.

  • But before his broken tooth was treated by extraction, the side of his face under his right eye was swollen because of the abscessed tooth.

  • In this photo taken while Aldrich was under anesthesia, the red arrow shows the swelling under his eye caused by the abscessed tooth.

  • The next 2 photos, also taken under anesthesia, show the broken tooth.

  • This is the broken upper back big tooth (the upper fourth premolar or P4) with tartar on it.
  • Arrow shows the opening that leads to the nerve (pulp).
  • After the tartar was removed, the opening that leads to the nerve is easier to see (arrow).

  • The red line shows the missing part of the tooth.

  • HARD CHEW TOYS broke this tooth.

  • This is a dental x-ray of the broken upper tooth, P4.

  • A person would be in great pain with this toothache.

  • The owners said that Aldrich seemed tired because he was sleeping a lot and stopping to rest on walks.

  • In the dental x-ray of P4, the solid red line shows the abscess and the dotted white line shows the 3 roots (2 are resorbing).

  • After P4 was extracted, the owners reported that he had lots of energy on walks and was even running around and playing with the other dogs!

Key Points
  • HARD CHEW TOYS break teeth!

  • Even with a terrible TOOTHACHE, dogs may not show any signs of dental pain.

  • The difference is seen when the PAIN is gone!

DARCY'S STORY

I met little Darcy at a Corgi Breeders meeting. Her owner was concerned about gingivitis so she came to us for treatment. We cleaned and X-rayed her teeth.  “What a shock!” said the owner, as I explained what a dental X-ray showed us in her sweet little dog’s mouth.

Darcy had a “deep pocket” behind her big molar. This dog had a surprise acanthomatous ameloblastoma, rim excision.

 Without an X-ray to show us what the problem was, the tooth would have been removed and the real problem never addressed.

Cancer is what we found (see picture arrows). Because of the radiographs, we were able to instantly see the problem and take measures to fix it quickly before it got worse. Post-op 16 months, still doing great, no regrowth!

Her owner feels that “regular dental X-rays saved my dog’s life!!”

Jean Battig, DVM, DAVDC

Key Points
  • Even with a jaw tumor, dogs may show no signs of dental pain. 

  • Dental X-rays can save your dog’s life by finding cancer early.

ROSIE'S STORY

Rosie is 18 years old, going on 19 very soon. She is a Pekingese/Shih Tzu mix.  Rosie lives with Donna and her husband.

Three years ago, Donna noticed that Rosie had bad breath and seemed unhappy. She began a bizarre behavior of biting at the air. Two years ago, Donna had Rosie’s teeth cleaned, but the bad breath persisted. Recently, Rosie started to hold her mouth in an abnormal position and she began dropping food from her mouth when eating.

Rosie’s veterinarian took an X-ray and found that Rosie had a fractured mandible (lower jaw). Donna was referred to Dr. Hoffman for treatment.

Dental X-rays revealed that Rosie’s fracture was due to advanced bone loss as a result of untreated periodontal disease. Most of Rosie’s remaining teeth also has abscesses and severe bone loss. The fracture was a non-union type: it was not new, and it was not healing.

The only treatment option for Rosie was for Dr. Hoffman to remove a portion of her mandible and extract all the teeth with abscesses and severe bone loss. Rosie’s surgery took three hours.

One week later, Rosie has gained weight and has an excellent appetite. She no longer bites at the air. She is wagging her tail again for the first time in years. 

She wants to go for walks on a leash. Before her surgery, she did not want to go outside at all. Rosie likes to eat her prescription food, deli roast beef, liverwurst, baby food, and chicken breast. Donna says, “Rosie is a different dog. She is happy now.” Donna would like pet owners to know that the only way to determine the cause of oral pain and odor is by taking dental X-rays. 

Cleaning teeth does not address dental pain or disease. A pet’s teeth can be cleaned every year, but if X-rays are not taken, any painful disease affecting the roots of the teeth will not be treated and can lead to years of pain and, in some small dogs, jaw fractures. 

Key Points
  • Dental cleanings without dental X-rays miss every problem under the gums.
  • Even elderly dogs show us they feel much better after the pain and infection are gone.