Apollo’s Root Canal

Apollo is a 6 year old, male German Shepherd who loves to play frisbee with his owner, who recently noticed his left upper canine tooth was discolored purple. Apollo came for an evaluation by Dr. Michael Peak at The Pet Dentist at Tampa Bay. In our pre-operative photo, the purple discoloration is subtle, but there is discoloration in the middle of the visible crown indicating the tooth has pulpitis.

The midsection of the left maxillary canine tooth is slightly darker (purple) than the adjacent teeth indicating bleeding inside the tooth, “pulpitis.” Also note the fractured left maxillary 4th premolar tooth.

In over 90% of discolored teeth, the pulp tissue has been traumatized to the point that the tooth dies or is in the process of dying. A dead tooth can be a source of infection and pain. In these cases, we recommend either extraction of the affected tooth or removal of the source of infection (the dead pulp) and sealing the tooth from the tip of the root out, a tooth canal treatment. Apollo’s owner wanted to save this tooth so he can continue to play frisbee. In these photos and x-rays, you can see the steps of a root canal.

In the first x-ray, it is important to evaluate the tooth for any other problems and be sure it is a good candidate for root canal therapy. In the second x-ray, we have found the “working length,” the measurement in millimeters of the length of the pulp canal. In the third x-ray, we are showing the largest root canal file used to clean the walls of the canal. Finally, in the last x-ray, we are showing the final fill of the pulp canal and restorations (fillings) at the fracture site and root canal access site. The post-operative photo shows how the tooth looks after treatment.

Post-operative photo of the left maxillary canine tooth following root canal therapy. This treatment allows Apollo to keep this tooth as a normal functioning tooth. Also note we extracted the left upper 1st incisor and 4th premolar.

You may also notice there was another fractured tooth, the left upper 4th premolar tooth, which was found to have a pulp exposure. The owner elected to have this tooth removed to prevent infection at that tooth.

After comprehensive veterninary dental care, Apollo has an excellent prognosis and will return to all his normal activities very soon.