Veterinary dental extractions: Three critical factors

August 26, 2019
Mary Krakowski Volker, DVM, DAVDC

Dr. Mary Volker is a board-certified veterinary dentist and oral surgeon. Dr. Volker is a partner at the Animal Dental Center and is co-director of its residency training program. Since joining the Animal Dental Center in 2011, Dr. Volker has striven to provide exceptional oral care to its patients and has aided in the growth of the practice, in particular in the addition of its fourth location in Columbia, Maryland, in 2015. Dr. Volker teaches at the Animal Dental Training Center in Baltimore, Maryland, where veterinarians and veterinary technicians from around the world learn about veterinary dentistry. Dr. Volkers professional interests include endodontics and restorative dentistry. Dr. Volker also serves as president of the Anne Arundel County Veterinary Medical Association in Maryland. Outside of clinical practice Dr. Volker enjoys swimming on the Maryland Masters Swim Team; running with her husband (who is also a veterinarian) and their dog, Ruby; and spending time with family and friends.

Vetted, Vetted April 2020, Volume 115, Issue 4

The key to conducting a safe and successful tooth extraction is giving yourself enough room to work, says Mary Volker, DVM, DAVDC.

No veterinary dental extraction is the same. Each animal you work on has its own specific anatomy. “No animal is ‘normal,'” says Mary Volker, DVM, DAVDC, “none actually have the normal dentition they should have with the normal amount of roots.”

However, despite the fact that each extraction will be different, there are three key factors you can focus on with every patient to help ensure your procedure will be a success: exposure, an adequate surgical flap and adequate bone removal.

“Exposure is very important because there should be no reason you should put a high-speed hand piece into an area you can't see,” says Dr. Volker. Seems like common sense, but she says people sometimes don't give themselves enough room to work, and this increases risk.

An adequate surgical flap, especially for difficult teeth is “half the battle” says Dr. Volker. And for bone removal? Start with about half, she says, but keep in mind that you might run into issues like absorption or ankylosis that require a little more.

See the video below, filmed at Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City, for more insight from Dr. Volker about these three critical factors for success in performing tooth extractions.


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