Amarok is a beautiful gentle giant and he came to us from one of our sister clinics as he had a broken upper canine tooth. It was a nasty fracture of the tooth that exposed then nerve and would have been very painful. The fracture went below the gum margin partially affecting the root so it created a little hurdle for us to be able to save the tooth.
The first step was to change the level at which the gum attached to the tooth/bone as the gum will never attach to the exposed broken part of the tooth. This is called an ‘Apically Repositioned Flap’ which simply means that we moved the gingiva that was over the broken area to a place below it. At the same time we needed to tidy up the bone around the area of the fracture, and, as the nerve was exposed with the fracture, we needed to perform a ‘root canal’. Other than extraction, this is the only treatment for a broken (dead) tooth.
The second step was to shape the broken part of the tooth to accept a new crown and to take an ‘impression’ of the tooth so that the dental lab can make a crown that fits perfectly.
Finally, you guessed it; the third step was to fit the crown.
Why a root canal?
There are eight teeth in the mouth that are designated as ‘strategic teeth’ and these are all the four canines (the fangs) and the four large teeth at the back of the mouth (often referred to as carnassials). These are important as they provide structure, strength and function to the mouth. Therefore if we can save these teeth we will! The root canal procedure simply removes the infected nerve tissue from the tooth and replaces it with inert substances that prevent the tooth from getting infected. If we leave a dead tooth in place, bacteria will eventually colonise the inside tooth and create an infection which is potentially painful and can reduce the health of the pet.
Why a crown?
The crown serves two main purposes. It helps seal the restoration of the tooth to reduce even further any complications of the root canal procedure. It also brings back function and strength to the tooth. Amorok is the coolest dude on the street with his silver tooth.