Endodontics in dogs and cats
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
The term endodontic refers to the inside of the tooth, so endodontic treatment encompasses all procedures involving the endodontic tissues, predominantly the pulp. Endodontic treatment is typically performed on strategic teeth within the oral cavity such as the canines and large posterior teeth, which have pulpal and some periapical pathology; it facilitates their retention rather than their extraction. Endodontic treatment should always be offered to clients as an option for their pets in appropriate cases, so they can make a fully informed decision about the fate of the affected dentition. Having considered all of the options they may not want to opt for extraction if there is an alternative treatment available. Endodontic treatment should be performed by veterinary surgeons (VS) with a specialist interest in veterinary oral and maxillofacial surgery for a number of reasons: they are in the best position to assess the tooth and recommend the most appropriate treatment plan; in most circumstances they will have a specialist veterinary nurse (VN) working alongside them which will make the procedure more efficient; and they will have the specialist equipment available to perform the procedures, and know how to use it. This article aims to recap the endodontic anatomy of a tooth before discussing the main endodontic treatment available for adult teeth, which is root canal therapy (RCT). It will consider indications for RCT, an overview of the procedure and a discussion of the potential complications and implications of treatment, before discussing the role of the VN in endodontics.
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