Though Routine, Cheek Teeth Extraction Still Risky

Though dental extractions are common in horses with infected cheek teeth, a German study has shown that this procedure is not without risk. Complication rates related to teeth extractions depend on the techniques used to remove the teeth.

Drs. Hauke Gergeleit and Astrid Bienert-Zeitof, of the Clinic for Horses at the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover in Germany, found that 90 percent of the problems related to bone fragments being left in the socket, complicating the healing process.

For the study, the duo used clinical records of 302 cheek teeth removals performed at the clinic between January 2014 and December 2019. They found that standing oral extractions had complication rates of 4 to 20 percent, lower than other technique used; this makes it the preferred method of cheek teeth removal.

Of the 302 procedures, 20 had significant complications that required repeated veterinary care; 18 of the 20 horses had bone fragments in their sockets. The researchers note that the shape of the lower jaw bone and socket make them more prone to bone-fragment issues. Five of the horse developed fistulas. The horses that developed complications were generally younger.

Though all of the cases were successfully treated, some of them took up to five months to resolve. The scientists noted that there were complications with all extraction methods used in the study.

The authors note that the different responses indicate that the complication rate is associated with extraction method as well as with the stage and severity of the diseased teeth. Complications can increase treatment costs as well as cause more serious issues than the initial tooth problem. Because of this, the scientists recommend that a thorough exam and X-rays take place to decide the best extraction technique.

Read the article here.

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