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The majority of training that board certified veterinary dentists receive during a residency is in oral surgery, as this comprises a significant portion of what we do.

Oral Surgery

Oronasal Fistula

A communication between the oral and nasal cavities can result from traumatic injuries, but more commonly occurs secondary to advanced periodontal disease, especially when it involves the upper canine teeth. This type of problem causes nasal discharge, excessive sneezing, and chronic rhinitis. If left untreated for a length of time, the destruction that occurs within the nasal cavity can be irreversible, leading to chronic and ongoing nasal issues even after the fistula has been surgically repaired.

Oral Tumor Resection

Account for up to 10% of all tumors in animals. Both benign and malignant tumors can occur in the oral cavity, but regardless of the type, they are best treated when they are small. Multi-modal treatment is available for oral cancer, and most pets are going to handle these treatments with no adverse effect on quality of life. It’s always best to have a biopsy done on any abnormal growth, no matter how small.

Jaw Fracture Management

Traumatic injuries are common in veterinary medicine, and these can include damage to the dental and oral tissues. Aside from fractured teeth, the bones that support them and the soft tissues that protect them can suffer. We utilize fracture repair techniques that give priority to maintaining function as as occlusion, with minimal disruption to the surrounding healthy tissue.

Tooth Resorption

This is a very common condition in cats, and is becoming more prominent in dogs.  While not the same process as a cavity, the end result is similar in that the tooth is slowly eroded.  It’s a very painful condition for which extraction is the only option.  Frequent oral examinations can help to identify affected teeth before they become severe, but dental x-rays and examination under anesthesia are definitive in diagnosing this disease.  

Surgical Extraction

Most, if not all, dental extractions are surgical procedures, much like wisdom tooth extraction in people.  Small incisions are made to gain access to the roots of the tooth, which is split into individual root segments to ease the extraction process.  The defect left after removal of the tooth should then be sutured closed in order to aid healing and prevent the formation of dry socket, which is perhaps the most painful dental condition known to both people and pets!  Healing generally takes 7 – 10 days, during which your pet will be on soft food only and chew toy restriction.  Pre-extraction AND post-extraction dental x-rays are a necessary part of any tooth removal.  

Full Mouth Extractions

Believe it or not, cats and dogs can do just fine without any teeth at all!  In fact, they often feel much better than they did with the disease teeth in the mouth.  It may sound extreme, but it is a common procedure for specialists who are trying to restore a good quality of life to a pet.  It is reserved for the most severe cases, such as stomatitis, CUPS, and advanced periodontal disease.  These conditions are more common in cats(stomatitis) and certain dog breeds such as sight hounds(Greyhounds, IG) and smaller breeds/toy dogs.