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A new form of pet dentistry is sweeping the veterinary industry. Does your dog have several missing or broken teeth? Does his tongue hang out of his mouth? Does your dog have trouble eating? Well, if you knew you could improve your pet’s life by replacing his teeth with dental implants, would you do it?
Essentially, pet dental implants are the same thing your local dentist does on humans every day. An implant is a titanium, surgical grade post that is placed within the bone. There, it mimics the design and function of a natural tooth root.
Once inserted, there is some time that will be needed for your pet to generate additional bone around it. When integration occurs, the bone tightly fuses to the threads around the implant, securing it in place. In humans, as with animals, this takes several weeks to months.
Once the implant is stabilized, the doctor will have a restoration (crown, bridge, etc.) made and attached to the implant. In order to do this, your pet will have to undergo anesthesia so that they can get a good impression of their mouth. The restoration is custom fabricated at a laboratory.
When it’s ready, you’ll return for a final visit for the “tooth” to be put on.
Many healthcare professionals are apprehensive about the thought of animals with dental implants. Since they are placed within the bone, it’s essential that this foundation stays healthy. The reason a lot of pets lose their teeth in the first place is due to gum disease that has gotten so bad, it deteriorated the jaw bone.
Dentists believe that affected animals would have to have impeccable oral hygiene in order for the implant to remain successful. We all know a dog can’t brush his own teeth, so this would be up to the owner to do. And unfortunately, there aren’t too many people out there who are willing to brush and floss their dogs’ teeth daily. Nor are most pets okay with having it done to them that often.
With such a high risk of developing gum disease - which can cause the implant to fail - owners may be reluctant to make this investment for their pet. There isn’t a lot of information available yet regarding how much a pet dental implant costs. But the average cost for a human is around $2,000. As mentioned, there are a few steps to doing this procedure. And since your pet will need to undergo general anesthesia each time, the fee for that service alone will add to the overall costs.
Still being in its early stages it’s hard to determine exactly what the benefits of dental implants in animals are. There are a lot of theoretical concepts still to be determined. But in time, we’ll get all the answers we need in order for pet owners to make a more educated decision based on real-life statistics.