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Equine Health Resource

Incisor Inter-Dental Wiring

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Inter-dental wiring is a means to treat horses and foals with fractured maxilla or mandibles. It provides an opportunity to improve the outcome for the horse and prevent the development of a deformed jaw and incisor teeth.

This procedure involves the placement of stainless steel wire around the bases of the incisor teeth to secure them and use them as a splint to realign the incisor bone of the jaw. The fractured bone edges are cleaned up and debrided. The incisors are realigned manually, which should reappose the broken bone. Wire is run through the gums at the base of the incisors. Sometimes the wire must be secured to canines or cheek teeth for adequate security.

If the alignment of the teeth is good, the teeth are not loose and the wound heals, then it is likely working. In the case of young horses, the question is how well the permanent teeth come in.

This Treatment Might be used for a horse exhibiting these signsRelated Observations

Know Related Treatments

Consider Potential Side Effects & Complications

Wires can become loose, dislodged or broken. Sores can develop in the lips and gums. Permanent teeth can be lost, not erupt or be deformed despite the effort. In rare cases, the fracture line can become infected, resulting in chronic drainage.

Consider Reasons Not To Use This Treatment

Not recommended when the teeth are simply fractured out, with no appreciable bone broken. This method is sometimes not used if a fracture is more than 3-4 days old. It can be very difficult to realign the fractured bones after that much time.

Is It working? Timeframe for effect

I usually leave the wires in 6-8 weeks. I adjust and tighten them every 2 weeks. The bone is usually healed at 6- 8 weeks. The wires can then be removed. In some cases, removal of the wire will require short acting general anesthesia, but in most cases, they can be removed under sedation.

Questions To Ask My Vet

  • What monitoring do I need to do?
  • Do I need to feed in a specific way?
  • Do I need to loosen flakes of hay so the horse is not forced to tear loose mouthfuls of hay?
  • When will you need to see the horse again to remove the wires?
Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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