Root canal therapy is an excellent option for saving important teeth that have been fractured or are determined to be non-vital. The procedure is performed exactly as it would be for a human, except your pet will be dreaming peacefully under anesthesia. In many cases, root canal therapy is much easier on your pet than extraction, and preserves the structure of the tooth. It is important to have the root canal x-rayed periodically to monitor for any problems.
Pets can get cavities too! Although cavities do not occur as frequently in animals as in humans, it is important to treat these problems before they can progress to more serious problems such as infection or tooth loss. Cavity restoration is performed just as it would be in people. Additionally, some pets are born with abnormalities or defects in the tooth enamel. These defects can be restored to provide a more normal tooth structure.
Crowns are placed on fractured teeth to provide the strength to the tooth structure. This is often performed on working dogs or pets who need their teeth for specific activities. The crowns are made of non-precious metal and require one episode of anesthesia for creating the molds, and a second for placing the crowns.
Feline dental resorptive lesions is a disease process that starts with inflammation of the gum and can progress to weakening and fracture of the tooth. For reasons unknown, the body begins to break down the adult tooth. These lesions can be very painful and should be treated, generally with extraction. The disease can be progressive and affect many teeth over several years. It is important to have regular checkups and yearly dental cleanings to monitor for these lesions.
Pets can be involved in trauma that can cause fractures to their head, teeth, and jaw bones. Correctly repairing these fractures is extremely important for your pet to have normal function of their mouth. If a jaw fracture is allowed to heal in an abnormal position, your pet may have great difficulty chewing and can be in significant pain. Many fractures can be successfully treated with minimally invasive oral procedures.
Some animals are born with a defect in their mouth called a cleft palate. These animals may have chronic upper respiratory infections and nasal discharge. They are also at risk for developing aspiration pneumonia. While repair of some of these defects may be difficult, there are multiple techniques available for repairing or reducing the size of the defects.
Dogs and cats can sometimes have severe inflammation of the mouth and gingivitis. It is not always known what is the exact cause of this very frustrating condition, but it can be successfully managed. In cases of severe inflammation, some or all of the teeth may need to be surgically extracted. This often greatly improves the pain and inflammation in the mouth. Laser therapy is also frequently used to treat this inflammation. The laser can help destroy abnormal inflamed tissue and allow normal tissue to return in its place. The laser treatments can be repeated as necessary to keep the inflammation under control.