Restoratives / Crowns
Good oral health and sound tooth structure are important to the general health and well being of our pets. In fact, our pets use their teeth and mouth much like we use our hands for grasping and interacting with their environment. Therefore the repair of a damaged tooth is important. It relieves pain, restores tooth function, maintains oral health, and has esthetic value.
The dental materials used in veterinary dentistry are the same used in human dentistry. In fact, dental models are sent to a human dental laboratory for fabrication of crowns or orthodontic devices. We use rapidly curing (light cured) products in our procedures, to reduce anesthetic time. In the past we used to use amalgam (silver appearing fillings), but today we use composites that are the same color as the tooth, seal the tooth, and are very durable.
Trauma may cause the tooth to become discolored (left photo- lower tooth) or result in a fracture (right photo) that exposes the more sensitive tissue inside the tooth.
A fractured tooth will allow bacteria to travel inside the tooth and eventually cause a tooth root abscess. We recommend root canal therapy to clean out the infected pulp and fill/seal the canal. Then the access hole(s) and fracture site will be filled/sealed with a composite restoration.
Moreover, some of these pets will continue to wear or flex these injured teeth and benefit from a cast metal crown. Ceramic crowns may “look better” but will not withstand the forces our pets place on their teeth.
Some pets that have separation anxiety or chew on their cage will develop large abrasive wear facets on the crown of the tooth (blue arrow). This greatly weakens the tooth making it prone to fracture. A three-quarter crown can protect the tooth from further damage and likely fracture.
Dogs may have a congenital defect of the enamel referred to as enamel hypoplasia. This defect exposes the underlying dentin which is sensitive, porous and stains easily. Composite restoration will protect the inner structures, essentially sealing the tooth, and provides a smoother surface to clean.
After composite restoration
Cavities in our canine patients (blue arrow) do occur but at a much lower frequency than in humans. When they occur, we treat them with the same curettes, high speed instruments, cavity liners and composites (red arrow) used in our teeth.
In conclusion, restorative dentistry is becoming an essential service we provide to our pets. With good long-term results these procedures will protect and maintain a pet’s tooth function for years. The goal of our restoration therapy is to protect, seal the tooth, maintain normal occlusion, and offer a smooth surface to keep clean.