Dental Implants for Dogs

Dental implants have gained popularity in use in humans and more recently, even dogs started to benefit of such a treatment. A dental implant is applied if the dog has a missing tooth and has a difficult time eating. The procedure is pricey and many pet owners will consider less expensive alternatives.

Dental Implants for Canines

Dental implants are available for canines and involve the insertion of a titanium screw in the gum tissue in the place of a missing tooth. The screw will also have an abutment, which is also made of a titanium alloy and will be covered with a ceramic tooth that is made by a technician. The implants can improve the dog’s chewing function, especially if he has a hard time eating due to the lack of teeth.

How Are Dental Implants Inserted

Dental implants in canines will be inserted in a number of steps. Firstly, the vet will perform a radiograph to assess the condition of the bone and see whether bone grafting is needed. If bone grafting is needed, the vet will take some bone and insert it in the gum tissue, allowing the area to recover and the bone to be assimilated by the dog’s body. This may take a few months. The following steps include:

  • Inserting the titanium screw, which is performed under anesthesia and requires surgery
  • The dog will have to wait for 3 to 6 months and the vet will observe if the dog’s body integrates the titanium screw
  • The placement of the abutment on top of the titanium screw
  • Covering the abutment with a ceramic tooth

Efficiency of Dental Implants

Dental implants haven’t been used in many canines due to the fact that they have been recently introduced and the high costs involved, but in the reported cases, dental implants have proven to be highly efficient and restored full chewing function, being just like natural teeth. Most dogs get used to having a foreign body in the mouth.

When compared to dentures or bridges, dental implants are more effective and have several risks of the dog ingesting the dental work, as the dental implants are non removable.

Disadvantages of Dental Implants for Canines

The main disadvantage of dental implants for dogs is the cost. A single dental implant may cost over $2,000 (the screw is made of titanium and the tooth of porcelain) and typically, dogs that require implants may need more than 1 tooth. Regular pet insurance plans will not cover the costs of dental implants, as they are considered elective in the case of dogs.

Other disadvantages may include the length of time required to install a dental implant and the fact that surgery is needed. The surgery may have certain risks and infections are very common, due to the location of the surgery and the fact that dogs may eat various items from the garbage while the incision is healing.

Some dogs may reject the titanium screw.