Endodontic therapy is the treatment of the dental pulp. The dental pulp is a combination of blood vessels, nerves, lymphatic tissue and connective tissue located in the center of the tooth where it is protected by the dentinal layer of the tooth.
Root Canal Treatment
Does your pet have a fractured or dead (non-vital) tooth? In many cases, these teeth can be saved with root canal therapy and extraction may be avoided. During root canal treatment, access is made into the tooth to gain entry into the nerve space inside. Instruments are used to remove all of the diseased material. During this process, the canals are cleaned, shaped, and dried. The root canal is then filled with material that forms a seal to prevent infection from establishing in the root canal system. The root canal treatment is completed with a restoration (filling) to seal the access and pulp exposure.
Root canal therapy is generally suggested over extraction for the following reasons:
- Significantly less pain
- Almost immediate return to function
- Retains the function of the tooth
- Maintains jaw integrity
- No surgical complications
The benefits of a root canal for your pet are even more pronounced when a major tooth such as a canine or carnassial (chewing tooth) is involved. Root canal therapy is strongly recommended for preserving these strategic teeth.
Our promise to you is that we will not attempt root canal therapy if we do not think it has a good chance of success. Of course, no guarantees can be given as pets will be pets and they can damage teeth again following treatment. Although most (>90%) teeth treated with root canal therapy will last your pets lifetime, we need to ensure all is progressing well and follow-up x-rays are essential to assess that there is no deterioration around the tooth root and all remains well. We do see a small percentage of teeth fail to respond to standard treatment and evidence of disease remains when assessed with dental radiographs.
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Crown Height Reduction and Vital Pulpotomy
Crown height reduction and vital pulpotomy is a procedure we commonly perform on teeth that are malpositioned and cause trauma to the soft tissues within the mouth. This procedure is most commonly performed on young dogs with Class 1 Malocclusion (linguoverted mandibular canines) and Class 2 Malocclusion (overbite), where the mandibular canine teeth contact and traumatise the roof of the mouth. For these patients, orthodontic movement of the teeth may not be practical or possible, and leaving them with no treatment results in chronic pain and potential oronasal fistula formation (a hole between the mouth and nose) from constant trauma.
The procedure involves shortening the height of the problematic teeth and treating the exposed sensitive inner pulp cavity of these teeth. A sterile technique is used to remove a few millimeters of the exposed pulp. A special filling is placed directly on the newly exposed pulp to stimulate healing and provide a physical barrier to bacteria. This procedure may be advantageous compared to extraction as it can aid in the retention of jaw structure and maintenance of function.
The procedure carries a 90% success rate. To ensure the tooth has survived the procedure and is healthy (vital), we must examine the treated teeth periodically over the patient’s lifetime. This examination involves assessing whether the fillings are still intact and whether evidence of pathology can be detected on dental radiographs. The first re-examination is 3 months after the vital pulpotomy procedure. If signs of continued maturation of the tooth over time are absent or signs of infection are detected, further treatment such as root canal therapy or extraction may be required.
In order to minimise the chance of damage to the fillings, play with abrasive toys (e.g. tennis balls) and hard objects should be avoided. Crown amputation and vital pulpotomy can be an excellent treatment choice for the right patient. Our team can help you decide if this treatment is right for you and your pet following a thorough assessment and discussion.
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OUR DENTISTRY TEAM
Meet Our Dentistry Team
Brace yourself. We are a team like no other. No fill-ins or tooth faries here, just vets who like the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth. Our patients can't read our plaques. Molar bears, vampurrs and canines, we'll treat them all. A functional, pain-free mouth for your pet is our floss-ophy. You know the drill.... click on the link and check us out...let's see if we can get to the root of your pet's problems. It might just be love at first bite.
Specialties & Services
Veterinary Referral & Emergency Services