Dogma in Veterinary Dentistry
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2014
Cedric Tutt, BVSc(Hons), MMedVet(Medicine), DEVDC
Cape Animal Dentistry Service, Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa

Straight-line approach: the straight line approach as described in Pathways of the Pulp is a straight line into the root canal. If a straight line access to the root canal is not created, the file will have a bend in it prior to it entering the canal and this will place undue stress on the file and may result in its separation. Unfortunately, straight-line access has been spoken of as straight line access to the root apex. In most animals this is impossible because many roots are dilacerated. The second access site made in canines of dogs and other large carnivores may provide straight line access to the apex but the fracture site provides straight line access to the pulp chamber and root canal.

Prevalence of periodontitis in pets: most articles (even in magazines) state that 85% of dogs and cats older than 2 years have periodontal disease. Is this correct? The prevalence of periodontitis increases with increase in age.

Wait-and-see approach to dentistry: in the past, veterinarians would advise clients to "wait and see" when presented with patients showing signs of dental disease. We now know that exposed pulps cause discomfort and lead to periapical pathology and therefore the treatment options are root canal therapy or extraction. Wait and see is not an option for fractured teeth with exposed pulps.

Cracking off of tooth crowns in cats: some believe that since cats with teeth affected by resorptive lesions will systematically lose their teeth, one can speed up the process by cracking all the crowns off. This practice is considered unethical and must not be performed. Crown amputation is indicated where radiographic evidence supports it.

Client perspective - deciduous teeth have no roots: some clients have found shed deciduous teeth that have crowns only and thus believe that deciduous teeth are without roots. Deciduous teeth have roots but during the process of teething the deciduous teeth lose their roots and the crowns are then only kept in place by the gingival attachment to the crown.

Maxillectomy and mandibulectomy are disfiguring procedures: although these surgeries are often extensive, they are well tolerated by treated patients and usually people who are unaware of the extent of the surgery do not realise that a major part of the jaw has been resected.

Stage 2 resorptive lesions are pain free - by definition, Stage 3 resorptive lesions are painful because the pulp cavity has been breached by the resorptive lesion. However, the dentine pulp organ is breached as soon as the lesion penetrates the dentine. Therefore Stage 2 resorptive lesions should cause discomfort too.


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Cedric Tutt, BVSc(Hons), MMedVet(Med), DEVDC
Cape Animal Dentistry Service
Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa

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