Simon presented at Animal Dental Care in Colorado for an evaluation of a fractured right upper fourth premolar. Unfortunately the tooth was too badly damaged to be saved with a root canal and needed to be extracted. In photo 1 below you can see the dog’s upper fourth premolar which shows the fracture and damage to the tooth prior to extraction.
Digital veterinary dental radiographs revealed that several other teeth were fractured with dentin exposure. These teeth were smoothed and all areas of the exposed dentin were sealed with bonded resin. The left upper third incisor, shown in photos 2 and 3, was fractured with exposure of the pulp (nerve) chamber, which is very painful. Fortunately this tooth was a great candidate to be treated and saved with root canal therapy.
The only way to accurately assess whether a pet is a candidate for root canal therapy is with veterinary dental radiographs. X-rays provide a complete picture of the pet’s tooth, root, and bone structure. This will help decide whether a root canal or an extraction is the optimal treatment for the pet’s broken tooth. Root canal therapy involves one or two small holes drilled in the tooth and infected pulp is then removed. The inside of the tooth is cleaned and filled with material that will not support bacterial growth to eliminate infection. The last step is placing a filling on the tooth to prevent bacteria from entering the tooth. A crown may be recommended to strengthen the treated tooth.