Standing oral extraction of cheek teeth in 100 horses (1998-2003)

P M Dixon, I Dacre, K Dacre, W H Tremaine, J McCann, S Barakzai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reasons for performing study: Extraction of cheek teeth (CT) by the conventional repulsion technique requires general anaesthesia and carries a high rate of post operative complications. Consequently, an alternative method of extraction, i.e. orally in standing horses, was evaluated.

Hypothesis: The need for and risks of general anaesthesia could be avoided and post extraction sequelae reduced by performing extractions orally in standing horses.

Methods: One hundred mainly younger horses (median age 8, range 2-18 years) with firmly attached CT that required extraction because of apical infections, displacements, diastemata, idiopathic fractures and the presence of supernumerary CT had the affected teeth (n = 111) extracted orally under standing sedation. Follow-up information was obtained for all cases, a median of 16 months later.

Results: Oral extraction was successful in 89 horses and unsuccessful in 11 due to damage to the CT clinical crown (n = 9) during extraction, for behavioural reasons (n = 1) and because the apex of a partly extracted CT fell back into the alveolus following sectioning (n = 1). Predispositions to extraction-related CT fractures were present in 5 of the 9 cases, i.e. advanced dental caries (n = 2) and pre-existing 'idiopathic' fractures (n = 3). The iatrogenically fractured CT were later repulsed under standing sedation (n = 3) and under general anaesthesia (n = 6).

Eighty-one of the remaining 89 horses had successful oral CT extraction with no or minimal intra- or post operative complications occurring. Post operative complications in the other 8 cases included post extraction alveolar sequestration (n = 3), alveolar sequestration and localised osteomyelitis (n = 1), localised osteomyelitis (n = 1), incorporation of alveolar packing material into alveolar granulation tissue (n = 1), and nasal discharge due to continued intranasal presence of purulent food material (n = 1) and to ongoing sinusitis (n = 1). The above sequelae were treated successfully in all cases, with general anaesthesia required in just one case. Following oral extraction, significantly (P<0.001) fewer post operative problems developed in 54 horses with apically infected CT in comparison with 71 previous cases that had repulsion of apically infected CT at our clinic.

Conclusions and potential relevance: Oral extraction of cheek teeth is a successful technique in the majority of younger horses with firmly attached CT and greatly reduces the post operative sequelae, compared with CT repulsion. Additionally, the costs and risks of general anaesthesia are avoided. Further experience and refinement in the described protocol could potentially increase the success of this procedure and also reduce the incidence of post operative sequelae.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-112
Number of pages8
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2005


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