Endodontics (Root Canal Therapy)
Endodontics is the branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the pulp and the tissues that surround them.
When pulpal tissue is compromised and its vitality threatened or destroyed, some form of endodontic treatment is necessary to preserve teeth that might otherwise be extracted.
When the pulp is injured the potential for complications, especially infections and abscesses, are substantial. When problems requiring endodontic treatment are ignored, it can lead not only to further dental problems and tooth loss, but may lead to systemic ramifications as well.
The endodontically aware clinician can offer the client the option of retaining a tooth with pulp damage for both function and esthetics. Most animals function well with the loss of one or more teeth, but many owners are committed to optimum care and even have true esthetic concerns about their pets; for these owners, endodontics may be an unexpected, but appreciated, alternative.
Animals trained for special duties (ex. military, police, tracking, retrieving and protection) often require a sound, functional, complete dentition. For these animals, avoidance of tooth loss can be crucial.
Intraoral dental radiographs are needed to successfully diagnose and treat oral disease. At Inland Northwest Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery, we provide the best care possible for your pet, this includes intraoral dental radiographs.
Intraoral dental radiographs allow visualization of what lurks below the gum line which is 2/3rds of the tooth in dogs and cats. Intra oral dental radiographs permit visualization of structures and disease below the gumline such as the root, periodontal ligament, surrounding bone, tooth resorption, tooth fractures, impacted or unerupted teeth, oral tumors and fractures to the jaw.
In order to obtain intraoral dental radiographs which is when the dental radiograph plate is placed in the oral cavity anesthesia is needed to keep your pet free of motion and permit safe use of our equipment.
Oral Disease Treatment
Tooth resorption is a condition affecting up to 70% of cats as well as dogs. Osteoclasts destroy the dental hard tissues of teeth such as enamel, dentin and cementum. When the destruction of tooth occurs above the gum line it leads to oral pain. These animals can sometimes paw at their mouth, have a decreased appetite, salivate or have a change in attitude. Currently we do not know what causes tooth resorption. We do not have a prevention for tooth resorption and the only treatment for tooth resorption is extraction or crown amputation. When the root of the tooth radiographically appears like the bone of the mandible or maxilla it is permissible to crown amputate the tooth. If the root is intact then the entire root needs to be extracted.
Is a multifactorial disease with an exaggerated immune response to plaque on teeth. In a retrospective study on stomatitis in cats 67% had substantial clinical improvement or complete resolution following full mouth extractions or partial mouth extractions and .7 to 12 % of the cat population is affected.
Exodontia, more commonly known as extraction, is the most common oral surgery performed in cats and dogs.
Teeth may need to be extracted for many reasons. The most common reason for extraction is due to periodontally diseased teeth. Other reasons for exodontia include persistent deciduous teeth, teeth causing trauma to areas within the oral cavity, crowded teeth, discolored teeth and fractured teeth.
Extraction of compromised teeth allows the pet to have a pain free oral cavity.
Additional Conditions of the Oral Cavity that Require Surgery
- Oral nasal fistula is an opening from the oral cavity to the nasal cavity that requires surgical closure. Palatal defects that animals can acquire through trauma or be congenitally born with also need to be corrected surgically.
- More advanced surgeries are partial or complete mandibulectomies (removal of all or part of the lower jaw) and maxillectomies (removal of all or part of the upper jaw) due to oral tumors.
Dog’s and cat’s lives can be extended with the complete excision of oral masses.
The term orthodontics comes from the Greek ortho meaning straight or correct and odon meaning tooth.
Although this term is used to label this area of dentistry, it falls dramatically short of describing what orthodontics has become.
In a still oversimplified but more correct definition by the Council on Dental Education of the American Dental Association (ADA), orthodontics is that area of dentistry concerned with the supervision and guidance of the growing dentition and correction of the mature dentofacial structures.
It includes those conditions that require movement of teeth and/or correction of disordered relationships of the jaws and teeth and malformations of their related structures.
In veterinary dentistry, the enormous number of species and breeds that are encountered makes orthodontics truly a science of infinite variation. Even so, there are major and minor points of similarity in occlusions and malocclusions. Each orthodontic situation is unique according not only to the species, breed, and sex but also to the individual patient presented.
Periodontal disease starts with bacteria, plaque, and calculus adhering to the tooth crown surface at the gum line, then moving towards the root surface.
Periodontal disease is an active disease destroying the supporting tissues of the tooth which consists of the gum tissue, periodontal ligament, alveolar bone, and cementum.
This destruction leads to tooth loss. Periodontal disease may also systemically affect animals contributing to heart disease, kidney disease, and diabetes.
The 2003 American Animal Hospital Association Compliance Study indicated that 85% of adult dogs and cats have some degree of periodontal disease.
Treating periodontal disease starts with an oral examination and dental radiographs under anesthesia to assess the extent of alveolar bone destruction.
Two-thirds of a dog or cat’s tooth is under the gum line and can only be accessed with dental radiographs. A professional teeth cleaning is performed and a treatment plan created.
Options may include closed root planning, bone augmentation with open root planning, placement of a perioceutic, gingival grafting, guided tissue regeneration, and periodontal splinting.