The Calculus Incident

As anyone who knows Max will tell you, he’s always first on the scene when food is involved. Max never hesitates to grab anything which an obliging human drops on the ground or sneaks him under the table.

Max grabs some fish and chips, leaving Jack to stare in wonderment at his speed (Jack got some too, of course)

Since coming to California, he’s even become something of a connoisseur, developing his palate with the best our state has to offer.

Max inspects the nose on a glass of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Despite many years of eating, though, until recently Max had only rarely brushed his teeth. As you might imagine, his breath was sometimes less than minty fresh. So last time we took him to the vet, we got him a tube of beef-flavored toothpaste and an Elmo toothbrush, and started brushing his teeth regularly. We don’t manage it every day, but we still get around to it at least a couple times a week.

A few weeks ago, while we were brushing Max’s teeth especially vigorously, something solid and white popped out of his mouth. It looked¬†exactly¬†like a piece of tooth. A little Googling revealed that dogs can chip their teeth, and it’s definitely something which has to be fixed immediately.

As soon as the vet opened the next day, we took Max in. He didn’t seem terribly concerned about his dental health, and was more annoyed about having to leave the house so early in the day.

Max tries to recover some of his missed sleep while waiting for the vet

When the vet examined Max, she couldn’t see any obvious tooth damage, but she took him into the back room to check more carefully. When she came out, she told us that Max had not lost a tooth, but rather a piece of calculus–a mineral deposit they can get on their teeth.

Normally calculus has to be removed by the vet, but we had apparently brushed so vigorously that we managed to knock some loose! Not only was Max’s tooth intact, but our brushing was proving very effective. Max celebrated with a nice walk/stroll with his nephew.

So if you’re ever brushing your dog’s teeth and think you’ve chipped one of their teeth, don’t immediately believe all the posts on the Internet about emergency surgery and doggie root canals. Like Max, your dog could just have a little innocent calculus.

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