Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists, LLC

2409 Omro Road
Oshkosh, WI 54904-7713

(920)233-8409

mypetsdentist.com

Vital Pulpotomy for cats, dogs, rabbits and rodents 

Vital pulpotomy with pulp capping is an endodontic procedure designed to treat recently exposed dental pulp tissue.  This pulp exposure may occur unexpectedly from trauma resulting in tooth fracture.  Pulp exposure may also occur unexpectedly during the treatment of carious lesions, or it may be anticipated during crown reduction
performed to treat traumatic malocclusions.

What is the difference between root canal therapy and vital pulpotomy?

Vital pulpotomy is also called "partial coronal pulpectomy" whereas root canal therapy is complete pulpectomy.  If the entire pulp is removed, the tooth is dead and will not develop further.

Root canal therapy is performed on vital, dying and non-vital teeth.  Vital pulpotomy is used only for vital or live teeth, therefore dental radiographs are always required to help determine that the teeth are living.  Vital pulpotomy is not appropriate for discolored teeth with pulpitis. 

Vital pulpotomy can be performed on teeth where root canal therapy is not advised.  Very young teeth cannot be treated by root canal therapy because the root apex (end) has not formed.  Once root canal therapy is performed, the tooth is non-vital (dead) and will not continue to develop.  Vital pulpotomy can be performed on young teeth regardless of whether the apex (root end) has closed and the crown and root walls are inmature (thin and weak).  Root canal therapy for weak teeth  is not advised.  These teeth will fail to develop after root canal therapy; they remain fragile and easily fracture.  Treatment with vital pulpotomy is preferred because the tooth remains vital and continues to develop and strengthen.

Vital pulpotomy is most appropriate for young, inmature teeth.  Root canal therapy is more appropriate for animals over eighteen months of age.

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Dog; 11 mos.  Hockey puck fracture of
left upper canine tooth.

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Dog; 11 months, dental radiograph 
demonstrates very early tooth development
(thin walls and early root end closure).
Tooth appears to be vital (alive).  Was
treated by vital pulpotomy.

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Dog; 7 month with traumatic malocclusion.
The lower canines are puncturing holes into
palate (roof  of mouth).  Tooth crowns are
being reduced (cut off at the height of the
incisors) and treated by vital pulpotomy and
pulp capping.

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Crowns were reduced and capped.

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Note the height of the canine was reduced
to the level of the incisors.

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Completed vital pultomy with pulp
capping.  Three layers MTA, vitrebond
and composite.

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Completed vital pulpotomy with pulp
capping in three layers; MTA, vitrebond
and composite.

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Another view of vital pulpotomy with
pulp capping.

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Lower left canine was intentionally
crown reduced and 5mm pulp was
removed.  Sterile paper points
stop bleeding.


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MTA (pulp medication) was applied
as a 2 mm layer.  Vitrebond and
composite layers were used to
complete the procedure.



Initial radiograph before vital pulpotomy.
This puppy fractured the lower canine and
the pulp was exposed and bleeding.




This was the initial vital pulpotomy
radiograph.



This was the 6 month evaluation of
the vital pulpotomy.  Notice the dentine
walls are growing and providing
strength as the tooth develops.



This is a 3 year follow up after the initial
vital pulpotomy.  The tooth continues to
develop normally.  The tooth remains vital,
or alive. 


Vital pulpotomy is also a beneficial procedure for continually erupting teeth in rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs and other rodents that have been fractured and have pulp exposure.  These animals must have teeth to survive.  Fractured teeth with pulp exposure can become infected and die.  Dead teeth no longer erupt.  The result is severe life threatening malocclusion development. 

Dog Dental Care

Cat Dental Care

Rabbit & Rodent Dental Care

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