Root Canal Treatment (Endodontics) for Pets

Canine or feline root canal therapy is a common endodontic treatment that is an alternative to extraction for injured or infected teeth. Root canal therapy is routinely performed to save teeth in dogs and cats that are fractured or abscessed. Teeth serve an important function for animals and it is often beneficial to save them. Root canals are commonly performed on the "strategic" teeth (canines, upper fourth premolars and lower first molars) that are of greatest functional significance for dogs. In cats, root canal therapy most frequently performed on the canine teeth.

Dogs and cats with broken teeth do not always show symptoms of tooth pain. It is important to have their mouth and teeth examined regularly to identify problem teeth. Symptoms of severely injured or abscessed teeth include swelling on the face jaw and reluctance to chew or eat hard foods.

For dogs, chewing on hard materials commonly causes broken or fractured teeth. The result is often a tooth fracture that extends into the pulp canal within the tooth. The pulp canal is a chamber within the dog's tooth that houses the pulp tissue (the blood vessels and nerve within the tooth). If the fracture opens the pulp canal, which houses the blood and nerve supply to the tooth, then the tooth will be acutely painful for your dog and root canal treatment is required in order to save the tooth. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is cleaned and sealed.

Fractured Upper 4th Premolar Radiograph of endodontic files, which drill into the root to prepare for the filling.
Endodontic files in place prior to the filling. Radiograph after files are removed and replaced with filling material.
Crown Restoration - the final step of the root canal procedure.  

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