Unfortunately, jaw fractures are very common in pets, and they are almost as frequent in cats as they are in dogs. And they aren’t only caused by major traumatic injuries! At I-20 Animal Medical Center, we usually see them after a fight or a collision with an unmovable object (tree, fence, car, etc.), but that is not necessarily the “cause” of the fracture. Very often, when we treat a pet with a jaw fracture, they have advanced periodontal disease that has eaten away the underlying bone so that even a relatively minor accident produced catastrophic results.
We often hear from pet owners who were told by their veterinarians that their pet’s fractured jaw will resolve or heal on its own. But this is not true! In some cases, the bone will close, but it rarely does so in the correct place. The way teeth fit together is a very precise pattern, and once a fracture occurs, that pattern is no longer aligned. When a pet’s jaw fracture is allowed to heal on its own, we often see a granulation type of closure instead of bone to bone. This leaves the jaw weak and subject to refracture. It is also painful to the animal whenever they put pressure on the area in normal mastication (chewing).
Veterinary dentistry has come a long way in our ability to treat these cases. Thanks to veterinary ingenuity along with human dentistry’s advanced materials, at I-20 Animal Medical Center, we can now repair fractures with minimum trauma to the site.
At I-20 Animal Medical Center, we have implemented a new, advanced material frequently used on the human side called Ribbond. It is used to make temporary bridges for missing teeth. When bonded properly, the material acts like Kevlar (bulletproof vest material) and holds pets’ teeth and jaws very rigidly. Now, we usually use wire only to put pieces back in alignment and then to hold them together like a cast using Ribbond. We get the strength of those old time metal plates but don’t have to screw anything into the bone, and this material is very lightweight and strong.
After bonding it into place, we coat the entire fractured area with a temporary resin material to keep the pet’s teeth apart and hold them in place. Pets are back to normal in only five to six weeks!
Schedule pet dental care at I-20 Animal Medical Center by calling 817.478.9238.