People are not the only ones who need advanced dental care—pets also can benefit from root canals, dental crowns, and braces. While damaged or diseased teeth are often extracted at a general veterinary practice, Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital has advanced dentistry skills and can save injured teeth, rather than simply pull them. Learn how our team can save your furry pal’s teeth and restore them to normal function.
Root canals in pets
Pets who break a tooth and expose the pulp are excellent candidates for root canal therapy, although extraction may also be advised. Root canal therapy in pets involves removing infected pulp—nerve tissue and blood vessels—from the root canal, or center, of the tooth. The canal is then disinfected, and the removed tissue replaced with dental material. Once the root canal is filled with the dental material, access to the canal is also filled, to prevent further bacterial infection. The canal’s access is usually capped with a dental crown to help shield the tooth from future issues.
Overall, the goal with root canal therapy is to prevent bacteria from entering the tooth and its internal structure, effectively halting your pet’s oral pain. While the tooth is no longer alive after root canal therapy, your pet keeps their damaged tooth and maintains its function.
Dental crowns in pets
A dental crown in veterinary dentistry is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a dog or cat’s tooth, restoring its normal function. This cap covers the tooth to restore its original shape, size, and strength, and to improve its appearance. Most crowns in pets are a permanent structure that fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth. Crowns are often recommended after root canal therapy, to protect broken teeth from further trauma. Crowns are also used as a second layer of defense in pets whose teeth lack protective enamel because of wear, or congenital disease where part of the enamel does not form. The crown acts as protective armor around the outside of the tooth.
A dog or cat most commonly needs a crown to:
- Protect a weakened tooth from breaking
- Restore an already broken tooth
- Cover and/or support a tooth with a large filling
- Strengthen a malformed tooth
Dental crowns are made of various materials, but metal crowns are the most commonly used in pets because of their durability, and because they require less tooth structure removed. Metal crowns are extremely strong and can withstand a pet’s biting and chewing force. Porcelain-fused-to-metal or all-ceramic dental crowns are also popular, as they can be made in tooth-colored materials that match the adjacent teeth. However, these crowns can chip or break and are a better option for a small pet’s front teeth, or for pets who are not power chewers.
Your pet’s crown will be carefully crafted according to their needs—whether they’re a typical house pet or a working dog, for example—and which tooth has been damaged. Dr. McSweeney or Dr. Carriere will discuss your pet’s particular case and help you decide what will work best.
Braces for pets
A child wearing braces is a familiar sight, but what about a pet in braces? Pets routinely suffer from the same dental conditions as people and, while they don’t have nearly as many options, dental braces can help straighten out your pet’s smile. Severely crooked teeth can prevent a pet from chewing normally or opening their mouth properly, and braces can help align the teeth to their correct position, restoring function and comfort. Crooked teeth may be caused by trauma or genetic conditions that can lead to an underbite, overbite, or other misaligned bite issue that causes the teeth to strike each other or the mouth’s soft tissue. Most pets have to wear braces for only 6 to 12 months, but during that time, proper oral hygiene and daily toothbrushing are necessary to avoid plaque and tartar accumulation, and hard chews are off-limits.
Although you may think your pet’s only option is extraction of their damaged or diseased teeth, our Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital team has advanced skills to restore their dental health.
If you’re searching for a veterinarian in Metairie to perform advanced dental procedures for your pet, look no further than Animal Medical and Surgical Hospital. Contact our team to schedule your pet’s appointment for their dental care.