Restorations, also known as prosthodontics, is the act of replacing teeth or restoring teeth to more normal function. There are three major categories in veterinary restorations.
When the enamel is chipped off of a tooth exposing the substance below, dentin, it is a very painful event. A change in behavior indicating pain is rarely seen. If you have ever chipped a tooth, you know it hurts. The exposed dentin exposes microscopic tubules that communicate with the pulp canal which contains the nerve.
In addition to being painful, bacteria can enter the tubules and infect the pulp causing tooth death. This condition is treated by smoothing the fractured site and applying a bonded sealant. This alleviates the pain and protects the tooth from future invading bacterial infection.
Caries (cavities) are not very common in dogs and cats; however, they do occur. When they do, they are restored (filled) just as in a human tooth.
Crowns are better termed as full veneer restorations. When a tooth is fractured exposing the pulp, it is weakened. Often, crowns are placed on the tooth to protect it. A crown makes the tooth stronger than the original tooth.
White porcelain is not used for veterinary crowns because it is not strong enough to withstand the force that dogs produce with their bite. An alloy of semiprecious metals called Tilite is used. Tilite has been used for crowns in humans for many years.
Our doctors have taught the science of placing full veneer crown restorations to other doctors all over the world.