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First, select an instrument which matches the curvature and size of the root. There are numerous instruments available including the classic elevator, the luxating elevator, and the winged elevators. Classic elevators
and winged elevators are used in an “insert and twist” motion to tear the periodontal ligament, whereas luxators are used in a rocking motion during insertion to fatigue as well as cut the periodontal ligament. Luxators can be GENTLY twisted for elevation, but they are not designed for this and can be easily damaged when used in this manner.
Elevation is initiated by inserting the elevator or luxator firmly yet gently into the periodontal space. The insertion should be performed while keeping the instrument at about a 10 to 20 degree angle toward the tooth, to avoid slippage. Once in the space between the bone and the tooth, the instrument is gently twisted with two-finger pressure. This is not to say that the instrument should be held with two fingers, rather the entire hand should be used to hold the instrument. Twist only with the force that you could generate when holding with two fingers. Hold the position for 10-30 seconds to fatigue and tear the periodontal ligament.
It is important to note that the periodontal ligament is very effective in resisting intense, short forces. It is only by the exertion of prolonged force (i.e. 10-30 seconds) that the ligament will become weakened. Heavy stresses only serve to put pressure on the alveolar bone and tooth which can result in the fracture of one of these structures, so it is important not to use too much force.
After holding for 10 to 30 seconds, reposition the instrument about 1/8 of the way around the tooth and repeat the above step. Continue this procedure 360 degrees around the tooth, each time moving the elevator apically as much as possible. Depending on the level of disease and the size of the tooth, a few to several rotations of the tooth may be necessary. The key point to successful elevation is PATIENCE. Only by slow, consistent elevation will the root loosen without breaking. It is always easier to extract an intact root than to remove fractured root tips.
Removing the tooth should only be attempted after the tooth is very mobile and loose. This is accomplished by grasping the tooth with the extraction forceps and gently pulling the tooth from the socket. Do NOT apply undue pressure as this may result in root fracture. In many cases, especially with premolars, the roots are round
in shape and will respond favorably to gentle twisting and holding of the tooth while applying traction. This should not be performed if there are root abnormalities (significant curves, weakening) seen on the pre-operative radiograph. It is helpful to think of the extraction forceps as an extension of your fingers. Undue pressure should
not be applied. If the tooth does not come out easily, more elevation is necessary. Start elevation again until the tooth is loose enough to be easily removed from the alveolus.
This step is performed to remove diseased tissue or bone, as well as rough boney edges that could irritate the gingiva and delay healing. Diseased tissue can
be removed by hand with a curette. Bone removal
and smoothing is best performed with a carbide, or preferably a coarse diamond bur on a water-cooled high-speed air driven hand-piece. Alternatively, ronguers or bone files may be used if a high-speed dental unit is unavailable. Next, the alveolus should be gently flushed with a 0.12% chlorhexidine solution to decrease bacterial contamination. After the alveolus is cleaned, it may be packed with an osseopromotive substance.
This is a controversial subject among veterinary
dentists, and thus some texts recommend suturing
only in large extractions, other authors (including this one) recommend suturing almost all extraction sites. Closure of the extraction site promotes hemostasis and improve post-operative discomfort and aesthetics. It is always indicated in cases of larger teeth (e.g. canines, carnassials), or any time that a gingival flap is created to allow for easier extraction. This is best accomplished with size 3/0 to 5/0 absorbable sutures on a reverse cutting needle. Closure is performed with a simple interrupted pattern with sutures placed 2 to 3 mm apart. It is further recommended to utilize one additional throw over manufacturer’s recommendations to counteract tongue action.
In regards to flap closure, there are several key points associated with successful healing. The first and most important is that there must be no tension on the incision line. If there is any tension on the suture line, it will not heal. Tension can be removed by extending the gingival incision along the arcade (called an envelope flap) or by creating vertical releasing incisions and fenestrating the periosteum. The periosteum is a very thin fibrous tissue which attaches the buccal mucosa to the underlying bone. Since it is fibrotic, it is inflexible and will interfere with the ability to close the defect without tension. The buccal mucosa is very flexible and therefore will stretch to cover large defects. If there is no tension, the flap should stay in position without sutures.
If at all possible, the suture line should not be made over a void. If sufficient tissue is present, consider removing some on the attached side to make the suture line over bone. Always suture from the unattached (flap side) to the attached tissue, because this avoids tearing the flap as the needle dulls. Finally, ensure that all tissue edges have been thoroughly debrided as intact epithelial
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