Veterinary Dentistry is defined as dentistry of animals other than humans.
It is the branch of professional veterinary practice that involves the consultation, evaluation, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and prognosis of conditions, diseases, and disorders of the oral cavity and maxillofacial area, and their adjacent and associated structures, as well as the evaluation of the contribution of systemic conditions to oral health and the contribution of oral conditions to the overall health of the individual patient.
Endodontics is that branch of dentistry dealing with treatments of the dental pulp (the nerves, blood vessels and cells in the root canal). Types of endodontic treatments performed include root canals (removal of all of the pulp tissue and filling of the canal), vital pulpotomies (pulp capping or sealing of the pulp after exposure such as with height reduction), apicoectomy (surgical root canal therapy) as well as treatments of the immature tooth.
This technique has proved very successful in controlling both the behaviour and the damage caused due to interdog aggression (especially the young/old dog problems in the one household). It is also great for working cattle and sheep dogs to reduce "nip" damage. It must be combined with vital pulpotomies to prevent abscessation occurring.
Bite abnormalities are common in domestic animals. A large percentage of these can be helped with orthodontics although known genetic conditions will NOT be treated (this is often only requested in show animals and should be considered unethical).
Bite evaluation is becoming critical in many breeds as certain genetic faults are imported along with the semen (or animal). Many breeds have these bite faults increasing and evaluation of the bite at various ages is an important part of the selection process for future show and breeding animals.
Congenital enamel defects, crown fractures and endodontic access preparations can all be restored with a variety of materials. Aesthetic restorations and crowns are very important in show animals that have suffered trauma to the teeth which is affecting their "show" potential.
Oral surgery can often be difficult due to access and limited tissue to work with. Correct technique allows repair of cleft palates, oronasal fistulae and oral fractures. Surgery for elongate soft palates reduces owner and patient stress.
Deep periodontal pockets, furcation exposures and mobile (loose) teeth can often be salvaged utilizing periodontal flap surgery and other techniques such as bone augmentation and tooth splinting.