This is an area of special interest to us here at Antelope Animal Hospital. We have an up to date dental suite where full dental radiographs can be taken. The same monitoring equipment that is in our surgery room is also in our dental suite. We perform complete exams on each dental. The teeth are cleaned, polished and treated with fluoride. We have the ability to bond certain fractured teeth, thus helping us save those important teeth.
Advanced Dentistry Procedures
We have recently expanded the type of dental treatments that are available at our hospital. In addition to the basic dental cleanings and extractions, we can do various types of procedures to repair broken or damaged teeth.
The pulp canal is the hollow area inside a tooth that is filled with sensitive pulp tissue (blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue), which allows the teeth to grow, mature, and respond to stress. Endodontic disease refers to damage to the pulp, commonly termed pulpitis. Depending on the severity of the insult, the pulpitis may be reversible or irreversible. Reversible pulpitis is usually caused by minor trauma, with the tooth surviving the insult. Irreversible pulpitis is a result of major trauma and results in the “death” of the tooth. One of the more common causes of irreversible pulpitis in veterinary patients is tooth fractures, exposing the pulp tissue to bacteria in the oral cavity.
Fractured teeth are a very common occurrence in dogs and cats, resulting from external trauma or chewing on hard objects. The teeth most frequently broken are the canine (fang) teeth in the dog and the cat, and the upper fourth premolar teeth (the large upper teeth in the back of the mouth) in dogs.
Anyone who has experienced tooth pain in their own mouth can verify that this can be very painful. Unfortunately, our pets rarely show signs of discomfort; pets tend to hide their pain, thus making it difficult for us as owners to be aware there might be a problem. Many clients relate that their pets acted “years younger” after the endodontic problem has been correctly treated.
Root canal therapy involves the removal of diseased pulpal tissue which consists of blood vessels and nerves. The clean and disinfected root canal is then filled with an inert material to prevent future bacterial contamination. The tooth is then bonded with tooth-colored restorations. This is done to seal the crown and dentin against further infection.
Tooth bonding can also be performed on teeth with chipped enamel. Chipped enamel exposes dentin. This can lead to bacterial absorption into pulpal tissue causing the tooth to die. By catching the fracture early on and sealing the crown and dentin with tooth-colored restorations it reduces the chance of future problems.
A common condition seen in puppies is when the lower canine teeth are not in the correct position. As the puppy closes his/her mouth, the lower canine jabs into the palate and causes painful, ulcerated lesions.
Treatment involves fabrication of composite tip extensions on the primary canine teeth. This procedure provides immediate pain relief, allows normal jaw growth to occur, and usually results in normal alignment in the permanent adult teeth.
The technique involves the placement of curved composite tip extensions on the lower primary canine teeth. The tip extensions are shaped to create force on the primary canine teeth. Usually after 10-14 days, the lower canines tip out and the dentition closes into normal alignment. When the primary lower canine teeth eventually fall out, the attached composite will shed with the teeth.
After the primary canine teeth are shed, the permanent lower canines generally erupt along the path formerly occupied by the primary canines, resulting in normal alignment for the permanent teeth.
Composite tip extensions are most effective when applied at an early age, any time after the base-narrow condition is recognized. 10-12 weeks of age is an ideal time for placement of the extensions. This allows adequate time for the bone to remodel around the new position of the primary canine tooth.
A radiograph is an essential first step to evaluate the tooth and confirm whether or not the root is intact or diseased. In the last year we have transitioned to a digital dental x-rays system. While we have always provided dental x-rays, until now they have been in the traditional film format. The digital x-rays provide a much higher quality image and have greatly increased our ability to treat dental disease appropriately.
The upgrade to digital allows us to attach the images to the digital patient file in our system so that these images can be viewed by the doctor on any workstation in the hospital. We also have the capability to email these images to our clients or other hospitals should the need arise.
Another benefit of the digital x-ray system is that it has shortened the amount of time that is needed under anesthesia because the images are available immediately and we no longer have to spend time developing the films by hand.
- Filling cavities
- Repair of both uncomplicated and complicated crown fractures
- Restoration of an endodontic access site
- Wire & Acrylic Splints for fractures and tooth displacement injuries
- Periodontal surgery including cleft defect repair