Have you been given the news that your pet may require extraction or most or all of their teeth? This can be an overwhelming prospect, it is completely normal to require re-assurance prior to making the decision to have this treatment performed.
When we recommend extraction of all or most of your pet’s teeth, this is not a decision that we take lightly. We will only make this recommendation when we feel there is significant benefit to be gained in improved comfort and quality of life following treatment. Full mouth extractions will most often be recommended for patients affected by the following conditions:
– Chronic gingivostomatitis
– Chronic ulcerative paradental stomatitis (CUPS)
– Severe and advanced periodontal disease
– Juvenile periodontitis
Of course, this list is not all inclusive and from time to time full mouth extractions may be required for other reasons.
When are full mouth extractions beneficial?
In most cases we recommend full mouth extractions for patients with progressive and painful oral diseases that are not able to be effectively managed with medical treatment. Or, where the long-term effects of medical treatment are more impactful than the extractions themselves.
Many pets that have been on long term medications such as immunosuppressants, pain relief and antibiotics will no longer require these following these extractions.
The aim of this treatment modality is to provide relief from pain and discomfort and resolution of the underlying disease process improving your pet’s quality of life.
Full mouth extractions will also remove the need for the strict home care programs (that pets with painful mouths do not enjoy) and the often very regular professional treatments performed under general anaesthesia that are required as part of management of these conditions.
What are possible consequences of extensive extractions?
Removal of all (or most) of your pet’s teeth will result in some structural changes to their jaw. Rest assured that most of these are cosmetic in nature and are not true medical concerns.
The changes we observe are most frequently seen in our canine friends and are generally related to the tongue being more likely to poke out of the mouth. For some patients this is an occasional occurrence but for others it is a frequent observation. This is rarely observed in cats following full mouth extractions.
For patients with underlying immune mediated conditions, most notably feline chronic gingivostomatitis, this form of treatment may not result in complete resolution of their underlying oral pain and discomfort, and some form of ongoing medical treatment may still be required.
You may also have heard that there is a risk of jaw fracture occurring during the extraction process. This risk is very low when the extractions are performed by skilled individuals and is greatly outweighed by the potential benefits to be gained by removal of teeth.
But how will they eat?
This is the biggest concern expressed by pet owners.
Dogs and cats have significantly different dentition to us. Our pets have teeth that are designed to cut food into bite sized pieces rather than chew or grind their food in the way we do. In most cases, very limited changes to your pets diet will be required, as most of the foods we feed are already in appropriately sized chunks (dry food, meat, tinned food). Many of our patients will continue to eat their dry food as if nothing has changed, even after having all of their teeth removed. Of course, chewing on dental chews and bones will no longer be appropriate.
Having all (or most) of your pet’s teeth removed is a scary proposition but one that our clients rarely express regret over when they see the dramatic improvement in their pets demeanour and quality of life on the other side of treatment.