Objective: To describe a noninvasive method for preventing mandibular drift (MD) after mandibulectomy in dogs. Study Design: Technique description and case series. Animals: Dogs (n=18) that had mandibulectomy involving resection of a portion of the mandible caudal to the 2nd mandibular premolar tooth. Methods: One orthodontic button was attached to the lingual aspect of the canine tooth of the intact mandible and 1 to the buccal aspect of the ipsilateral maxillary 4th premolar tooth. An orthodontic elastic rubber chain was attached to the buttons creating tension sufficient for maintaining normal occlusion. The rubber chain was replaced weekly by the clients. Follow-up appointments were scheduled 2, 6, 10 weeks postoperatively and monthly thereafter if indicated. The appliance was removed when dogs had resumed normal occlusion of the canine teeth. Results: All dogs maintained normal occlusion, normal jaw function, had no apparent disfigurement, and resumed preoperative activity levels while wearing the appliance. Eight dogs achieved temporomandibular joint stability and normal occlusion 4.5-6 months postoperatively and 8 did not, resulting in MD. One dog was lost for follow-up and 1 was euthanatized. Conclusion: Elastic training using orthodontic buttons and power chain is a viable option for prevention of MD but requires good client compliance. More data and longer follow-up are required to determine the long-term mandibular stabilizing potential of this technique. Clinical Relevance: Elastic training is a quick, simple, cost-effective and noninvasive technique, preserving normal occlusion and function in many dogs after mandibulectomy.
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