Getting To The Root Of The Problem

Equine incisor tooth extraction can be challenging. Learn more with the case of coloured Cob, Gypsy

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Coloured cob, Gypsy, fractured her upper left corner incisor, cracking parts of the crown away. Initially it was hoped that the remaining portion of tooth would survive, but as the days went on more of the crown crumbled away and the decision was taken to extract the tooth.

Horses’ teeth continue to erupt throughout their life but the cheek teeth are fully grown by the time the horse is 7–8 years old and so the teeth get progressively shorter with age as they are worn away. The incisor teeth continue to grow until the horse is in their late teens, so incisor tooth roots are 6-7cm long, even in older horses. The roots are also curved so removing these teeth without snapping the root is very tricky, especially when the tooth is already damaged.

Gypsy came in as a day patient. She was sedated in the stocks and had an infraorbital nerve block to numb her left upper jaw. The gum was incised either side of the tooth and lifted to expose the bone underneath. The thin bone was removed using a high-speed drill until the root was exposed. The tooth could then be loosened with elevators and removed intact. The gum was sutured into place and she was monitored very closely until four hours after treatment as some horse rub their faces when the nerve block wears off. She went home the same day with her tooth in a bag as a memento.

After one week, the extraction site was healing well, so sutures were removed. Regularly dentistry (six monthly) is required to prevent the opposing lower incisor from over growing but otherwise Gypsy will make a full recovery

Out of hours emergency

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