Tools of the trade: Curved deciduous elevator


Curved deciduous elevatorby Dr Julie Girdler, Heights Pet Hospital, Singleton Heights, NSW

Four years ago, I noticed this instrument while flicking through a dental catalogue. After reading about it, I knew it was worth giving it a go. The elevator is used to remove retained canine teeth in dogs—the instrument is designed just for that tooth—it’s made my life much easier.

What’s good about it?

Before buying this elevator, I used other instruments that were designed for other teeth. Those tools didn’t curve in the right way and often caused the root to break.

Normally, deciduous canine teeth fall out but when they don’t, they can be a real issue. If a dog’s adult tooth comes down and the baby tooth is retained, food can become lodged between the teeth causing tartar buildup and gum disease. This jeopardises the permanent canine tooth in the long-term.

When using this elevator, the sharp pointed end cuts the periodontal ligament, then the curve of the elevator tip follows the curve of the tooth.

I generally use the elevator about once a month. They’re available in three different sizes, depending on the type of dog. For my money, it’s a real winner.

What’s not so good?

As with all dental extractions, you still have to take your time. If you rush it, you’ll break the tooth.

The only time this elevator has failed to work was when the retained tooth was so closely pushed up against the adult tooth, I couldn’t remove it using the instrument. In that case, I had to do a flap but overall, I prefer not having to drill.

Where did you get it?

IM3 (


  1. I have been using these elevators for more than a decade and cannot believe so many vet practices still do not have them. I am yet to find a new Associate vet that has seen these in their previous practices.
    Some deciduous canines have roots more than double the length of the crown but they can always be elevated with enough care and patience using these specialised elevators.
    The prevalence of retained deciduous teeth in small breed dogs is extremely high but the problem is easily fixed if desexing is done after the eruption of adult teeth (ie desex at 6mths old!). Unfortunately with the welfare organisations pushing early age desexing, many small dog’s teeth are not checked again until they are over 12mths old and the alignment of the adult teeth is permanently damaged. In their pushing of early desexing, welfare groups have had a negative impact on a different aspect of canine welfare which becomes a life long disability for those individuals.


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