As I had expected, I spent many hours at the barn today. The dental surgery team showed up on time with their trailer full of equipment - two vets and a helper. All these people do is dental surgery, and they really knew what they were doing. Dawn was a model patient, walking right up to the stocks - she was very alert but I think trusts me not to steer her wrong. She sedated easily and then walked (very slowly due to the sedation) into the stocks. The head vet said the stocks gave her some stability while they were working.
Before we got started, the head vet showed me her x-rays again and said that he would first take out the 409 molar on the right side. If he could do it using only local anesthetic, then he could also consider doing the two molars needing removing on the left side. But if he had to do a full nerve block, he could only do one side since otherwise she might end up chewing on her tongue by mistake, which wouldn't be good. Doing one side only also would minimize stress on her from the sedation, dental stand, and speculum holding her mouth open.
We ended up only doing the one tooth removal today, which was fine by me. It took both vets, with their assistant, almost 45 minutes to get the tooth out. The tooth was partially broken off above the gum line and was wedged tightly between two other teeth, so presented some challenges. They were able to remove it in one piece after a lot of preliminary work, which was the goal - extraction would have been much more difficult if it had broken. The head vet has pioneered some new dental extraction procedures, which allow the removal of molars from inside the mouth rather than having to go in surgically from the side.
This tooth was the one giving Dawn the most trouble - it was tilted to one side, both putting it above the surrounding teeth and poking her in the cheek. It also had a failed root and significant periodontal disease, which probably hurt and put the adjoining teeth at risk - all of which has now been removed.
After she was moved to her recovery stall, even though she was pretty out of it, every time I passed the stall she called to me - I think she was telling me all about it. A couple of hours later, I was able to move her to her own stall, and later in the afternoon she was able to eat her hay and dinner - she was pretty darn hungry by then. She's on banamine for a few days, and antibiotics for a while, and she'll have two weeks off from riding.
In about a month, they'll come back to recheck to be sure all is well, and do the other two extractions at that time.
Just glad that's over with . . .