Another type of pet tooth restoration is a “crown” restoration. By definition, the crown is the part of the tooth visible and functional above the gum-line. A prosthodontics crown is similar to a “jacket” installed over a previously fractured crown.
The purpose of restoring pet tooth structure with prosthetic material is threefold:
- Return normal function to the dentition.
- Prevent further breakdown of remaining tooth structure. Because of very heavy bite forces associated with the average canine bite process, it may be advisable to place metal crowns on dogs. The more cosmetic porcelain and porcelain fused to metal crowns used for most people are not strong enough to withstand the bite strength of the average household or working dog (especially).
- To create a proper aesthetic appearance.
The protection afforded by an overlying restoration merits consideration for many endodontically (root canal) treated teeth. In general, the endodontically treated tooth has been structurally weakened by crown fractures, the endodontic access preparation, and canal instrumentation. The endodontically treated tooth may become slightly less resilient because of changes in microstructure of nonvital dentin. Overlaying the occlusal surface of the crown with a casted crown helps distribute occlusal forces more favorably to the tooth and may improve the long-term prognosis for fracture resistance and for a functional tooth.
Crown restorations may not be indicated or feasible for all patients. The actual merits of placing a metal prosthodontic crown in a patient with a fractured tooth needs to be assessed on an individual basis. Consideration must be given to the age, size, personality, and function of the pet as well as cost and the desires of the pet owner.
Under the right circumstances, a metal crown may improve the function of the individual as well as protect against further injury. It is obvious that working military and police dogs may receive the most benefit from metal crown restorations. It must be kept in mind that metal crowns increase the overall expense, increase the number of necessary anesthesia’s for treatment and they do not completely protect the tooth from further harm. If activity is too abusive, even the metal crowns can break off or become lost.