In veterinary medicine, there is nothing I can’t stand more than dental work. Working in the small animal clinic this summer, it seems like they always end up way more difficult than anticipated and taking 3 hours or so. To me, it always seemed very repetitive, and I have come to dread dental radiographs because they usually tell you that a tooth you thought was normal actually needs to be removed.
Today I got the opportunity to do a dental cleaning and remove one tooth from a canine cadaver head. The cleaning went very well, but extracting teeth is much more difficult than I expected. Since I was the last person to go, I chose a canine tooth. Just about everything that could go wrong did. It took me a while to get used to the burr used to remove alveolar bone, the gum flap ruptured, and the tooth was impossible to remove. Using dental elevators to wedge in between the tooth and surrounding bone, the goal is to twist and break down the ligament holding the tooth in. But for me, I just couldn’t get a good pocket to insert into and get good torque on the tooth. Frustrated, I continued to try to loosen up the tooth, but it just wouldn’t come. At this point, I’m the only one still in the lab, so the pressure is really on.
To correct my problem, I needed to make a bigger groove between tooth and bone with the dental drill. By doing that I was finally able to get good torque, and at long last, the tooth comes out completely intact. Coming into the lab, I knew that I hated dentistry and now I definitely know that I am not cut out to be doing dentals.