Crowns and Restorative Dentistry
Restoring Tooth Function & Esthetic Appearance
If the crown of a tooth is fractured or worn it is important to maintain the tooth’s function by restoring its crown. Whether it is a holding tooth, like the canine (fang) teeth, or an important chewing tooth, like the premolars and molars, preventing further damage with crowns and restorative dentistry is the key to oral health.
Dogs often chew on toys or objects that are too hard or too abrasive. Very hard toys (like antlers, real bones, cow hooves or bully sticks) can cause tooth fracture, exposure of pulp and subsequent pain and infection! Additionally, chewing on tennis balls or other abrasive toys can cause severe enamel wear leading to loss of crown substance and eventual pulp exposure. Dogs can damage their teeth by chewing on the bars of their kennel, doorknobs etc.; this is called ‘cage chewing’ or ‘cage biting’ and commonly occurs secondary to separation anxiety.
For teeth with congenital and developmental defects, we are able to use restorative dentistry in order to make the tooth fully functional. Our team uses composite resins that match the color of the tooth, making it look as natural as possible.
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Prevention is Key
The first step in treatment of these teeth is prevention of further damage. The doctors and staff at the Animal Dental Center recommend only bendable toys like plush or rubber toys. The Veterinary Oral Health Council is an excellent resource for appropriate chew toys, treats and other oral healthcare products.
Restoration of fractured teeth or worn teeth can be performed with composite material (‘filling’ material) or metal crowns. These treatments are available for teeth that have been treated with root canal therapy or those that are damaged but still vital. Metal crowns not only strengthen the teeth by distributing the biting forces evenly but they also prevent further wear.
Similarities Between Human & Veterinary Dentistry
The dental materials used in veterinary dentistry are very similar to those used in human dentistry. In fact, we use a human dental laboratory for fabrication of crowns or orthodontic devices. We use rapidly curing (light cured) products in our procedures, to reduce anesthetic time. These composite materials are the same color as the tooth, bond to and seal the tooth, and are very durable (just like in people)!