August 6, 2010

Crowns (caps)

Crowns or “Caps” are used to replace missing tooth structure with a laboratory fabricated metal or ceramic material. Certainly, most teeth in dogs and cats do not require crown restoration, but in some cases they are beneficial. Hunting and working dogs frequently damage their canine teeth (fangs). Working dogs, such as those used for police and protection work, can place forces over 1500 pounds per square inch on their teeth when biting forcefully. Loss of function in these teeth can lead to decreased work performance.

In some cases, dogs wear down the backs of their fangs chewing on cages or fences. Often the enamel is completely worn away, weakening these teeth dramatically. These defects are commonly referred to as “cage chewer lesions”. Restoration with a partial or full crown can decrease sensitivity and help prevent future fracture in these weakened teeth.

Cage chewer lesions.

Wear on the back of the right upper canine tooth, secondary to cage chewing.

Restored strength with (3/4) partial crown.

Worn left upper canine.

Partial (3/4) crown in place.

Fractured upper carnassial tooth.
The major chewing teeth in dogs in the back of the mouth are termed the “Carnassial Teeth”.  These large teeth are frequently fractured, which is painful and impairs normal chewing function for the patient. Full function can be restored in many cases by placing a crown on the damaged tooth.

Fractured left upper chewing tooth with the large fracture fragment lifted up.

After root canal treatment, stone models of the patient’s occlusion were prepared and sent to the dental lab.

Detailed impressions allow the lab to produce an accurate cast metal crown.

The crown is then cemented in place, restoring full chewing function for this patient.