Dental Implants for Pets? No, Not Really

Dental implants for petsDental implants are the best replacement for missing teeth, and most dental patients know this.

We also know that devoted pet owners will spare no expense when it comes to the comfort of their pet. And so some pet owners inquire about getting dental implants for their pets.

My cat broke his upper canine tooth two years ago and had to have it extracted. Do you think a dental implant is necessary? Is this painful and expensive?

Dental implants are not available for cats anywhere in the world, to my knowledge. The bone volume in a cat’s jaw is so small that it would be technically challenging and, anyway, there’s very rarely a need for a tooth to be replaced. It’s common for cats to have missing teeth and they nearly always manage to live normally with no adverse consequences, continuing to hunt and even eat dried food. I have seen cats with all their teeth extracted with no major impact on their lives.

In a small proportion of cases, loss of the upper canine tooth in a cat can lead to the lower canine tooth catching the upper lip, causing an abrasion. If this is happening, there are other ways of dealing with this that your vet can explain. Dental implants
have been done in dogs and cost more than £5,000 for each procedure. They are rarely necessary.

– Pete Wedderburn, “Pet Health” in the UK’s Telegraph

Given that the cost of dental implants keeps many people from dental implant therapy, it’s somehow reassuring that tooth implant dentistry for cats and dogs isn’t exactly a booming business.

General Dentistry & The Dental Implant Dentist

The dental implant dentistToday’s dental implant dentist isn’t necessarily a specialists. In fact, this survey found that 99% of general dentists restore dental implants, and 55% place the implants themselves in straightforward dental implant surgery cases.

“They were invented by GPs like us,” said one general dentist. “More dentists should be placing them. Specialists should not be arrogantly taking control.”

We also found that 30% place implants, even in difficult cases, and 33% offer immediate load dental implants. When it comes to mini dental implants/denture implants, 61% restore them, and 45% place them.

Here are some comments from dental implant dentists:

  • “Implants need to be the dentist’s deal….. Do not rely on the oral surgeon or periodontist for anything but placement.” (Connecticut dentist)
  • “I feel placement of dental implants is best left to board certified oral surgeons because I have seen a very high failure rate with the implants placed by dentists.” (Alabama dentist)
  • Mini dental implants do not have long-term clinical evidence to support widespread use under dentures as a definitive restoration.” (California prosthodontist)
  • “Significant slowdown of dental implants in this economy.” (Minnesota dentist)

Read more: Dental Implant Dentists: Who’s Doing Implant Dentistry

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