Friday, September 10, 2010

My passion, my pup

Sunday Francesca was chewing her nightly "boney," her rawhide chew, when she suddenly stopped.  She kept bringing it to me, which was annoying.  "Go eat your boney, I'm watching a movie," I told her.  But she wouldn't eat it, and kept nudging me for attention.

She went to bed with her boney.  And carried it around the next morning.  "What is wrong with you?" I said as I lifted her lip.  Then I saw that she had broken her big molar, and there was a large red spot where the nerve was exposed.


I am collecting cases as I work on my dental fellowship, but I did NOT want to practice on MY dog!  Poor Francesquita, no wonder she couldn't eat her boney.

Fractured teeth are very common in dogs, and this tooth is the most commonly fractured.  If the fracture exposes the pulp, or nerve, of the tooth, there are only two choices:  extraction, or root canal.  Do nothing, and eventually the pulp will die and fill with bacteria, and the tooth will abcess.  Meanwhile, its painful and unhealthy.

I got myself mentally prepared to perform the root canal.  Its a complicated, 3 rooted tooth, and I don't have as much experience with fixing it as I do single rooted teeth (like the fang).   Also, it is awkward working on your own dog, if you think about it too much.  Anthony put it in perspective for me, though, when he said, "What is the worst that could happen?  She could lose a tooth?"  Right.

So today, I fixed it, and it was the best I've ever done.  Just like in a human root canal, fils are introduced into the pulp chambers in each root:

Then, using progressively larger files, all the organic material/pulp is removed.  Once its cleaned, the pulp chambers are filled with an inert material called gutta percha:

Then the holes you made in the tooth and the rest of the crown is restored with composite.  The tooth is dead but functional.  Once it fractured, it would have died anyway.

Francesca is woozy and drunk from the morphine, but she is painfree tonight.  That is my gift to her; she gave me a great case to work on and a little more self confidence.


Lisa said...

Owie! Wow, poor Francesca, indeed.

Good thing her Mum knew just how to fix her!

grandad says said...

interesting. how do you know that you have all the pulp out?

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Having had several root canals myself, I can definitely symphathize with poor Francesca. She's lucky her 'mom' knew how to fix it so expertly.

Krispy said...

At least you knew how to fix her and knew that there was something really wrong -- it could have been a couple of days before another person would have noticed something like that.

Glad it went so well!

and boo! the other downside to absessed teeth is really bad breath.

Emily said...

Awesome job, Jenn. Francesca is a very lucky dog to have you!

Anonymous said...

Oh,you are a good Mommy,Jen. poor Francesca :( xx


EdamameMommy said...

gutta percha sounds like something out of hello muddah hello faddah
nice work, sistah!

selfreliantguy said...

Poor dog, luckily she has you as her vet and mommy.