Greyhounds given dental implants then killed

Six healthy female greyhounds aged between 1 and 2 years were used by the Melbourne Dental School in this experiment.

Prior to induction, each dog was sedated, a catheter was inserted into the foreleg and then general anaesthesia was induced. Local anaesthesia was then provided to the facial region. Incisions were made along the gums in front of the teeth so the tissue could be peeled back and the buccal bone (the bone in which teeth sit) was exposed.

Two upper teeth (the maxillary incisors) were then removed from each dog using a luxator (a specially designed periodontal ligament knife ) to cut and forceps to pull. Once the implants were installed the gap between the implant and surrounding bone walls was measured.

A coin toss was used to determine which implant would be submerged; a ‘closure screw’ and a ‘healing abutment’ were then installed at this implant. To encourage bone regrowth, the gaps between the implant and bone were then filled with a bone substitute (derived from cow) and covered with a ‘resorbable collagen membrane’ (derived from pig). The soft tissue below each implant was then cut with three incisions so as to become a ‘flap’. This flap was pulled to completely cover the ‘submerged’ implant and to cover only the buccal bone and “filling” of the ‘non-submerged’ implant.

Post-operative care included administration of a non-steroidal analgesic, and an injection of antibiotics directly into the muscle.

During the first two weeks dogs received daily inspections and three times a week had their teeth brushed to control plaque. At three months all the dogs were killed with an injection of Lethabarb®. The front portion of the upper jaws was then surgically removed and sent to a laboratory to be prepared for analysis.

(Mellati E, Chen S, Davies H, Fitzgerald W, Darby I 2015. ‘Greyhound –Healing of Bio-Oss® grafted marginal gaps at implants placed into fresh extraction sockets of incisor teeth in dogs: a study on the effect of submerged vs. non-submerged healing’. Clinical Oral Implants ResearchAnat. Histol. Embryol., 45: 161-172.)

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