The purpose of restoring a pet's tooth structure (vital or non-vital pulp) with prosthetic material is to return normal function to the dentition, to prevent further breakdown of the animals remaining tooth structure and to create a proper aesthetic appearance. The occlusal protection afforded by an overlying cast restoration should be considered for endodontically treated teeth. In general, the endodontically treated tooth has been structurally weakened by crown fractures, endodontic access preparation, and canal instrumentation. The endodontically treated tooth may become more brittle because of changes in microstructure of non-vital dentin.
Creation of the access opening and canal instrumentation during root canal treatment further weakens the tooth, and risk for cuspal or vertical fracture extending down into the roots is magnified. The stress generated from chewing forces may become excessive and lead to further injuries of previously fractured teeth if the remaining crown structure is unprotected. Overlaying the occlusal surface of the animal's tooth with a crown distributes occlusal forces more favorably to the tooth and can improve the long-term prognosis for a functional tooth.
|Taking an impression to cast the crown for the dog's tooth.|
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a dog or cat's tooth - covering the tooth to
restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance. The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
A dental crown may be needed for a dog or cat in the following situations: To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking, to hold together parts of a cracked tooth, to restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down, to cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn't a lot of tooth left and/or to cover mis-shapened or severely discolored teeth.
|Casting and finished crown.|
What Types of Crowns Are Available for Pet Teeth?
Permanent crowns for dogs and cats can be made from all metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or all ceramic.
- Metal crowns are the most common type of crown used in dogs and cats because they are the most durable type of crown. Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, other alloys (for example, palladium or titanium) or a base-metal alloy (for example, nickel or chromium). Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand a pet's biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the only drawback.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal or all ceramic dental crowns are made in tooth-colored materials that look like adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). Unfortunately these types of crowns can chip or break. All-ceramic crowns and porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown's porcelain can show through as a dark line. These crowns can be considered for a small pet’s front teeth or pet’s that do not chew or eat hard objects.