If you had one heck of a sweet tooth as a kid, you have probably undergone dental restoration at some stage. Cavities, or any defect in the tooth enamel, can require a restorative bonding procedure, like a filling or crown. Although rare, pets get cavities, or caries, too. Different from typical periodontal disease, which can affect up to 80% of pets by age 3, tooth decay affects as few as 5% of pets, but is a serious issue that requires prompt treatment. And, any pet at any age can be affected by cavities or other enamel defects that require restoration to maintain the tooth-structure integrity and ability to bite and chew. Let’s look at why pets may need restorative bonding, and how the procedure is performed here at the Animal Dental Clinic.

What dental condition in pets does restorative bonding help?

When a defect occurs in the hard tooth tissues, such as the enamel or dentin, the best treatment to preserve the tooth’s function and structure is a restorative procedure. Conserving the tooth structure is essential for protecting the vital pulp that feeds the tooth and keeps it alive and healthy. Pets can be hard on their teeth, especially working dogs and those who like to play rough, so keeping teeth strong and healthy is crucial for their well-being. When a pet damages their tooth, our team steps in to repair the defect. Some of the more common issues we see that require restorative bonding for pets include:

  • Fractured teeth
  • Cavities
  • Enamel hypoplasia
  • Trauma
  • Excessive abrasion

Pets who are prone to chewing on tough objects, such as cages, rocks, and sticks, can easily fracture their teeth, or wear them down by gnawing on tennis balls or cloth-covered toys. Cats and dogs with skin allergies can also cause undue wear and tear on their teeth by chewing at their skin. Police, military, and protection dogs routinely fracture their canine teeth during training or active duty, and without proper restoration of these critical teeth, may lose their job. 

Many general practice veterinary hospitals do not have the equipment necessary for restorative bonding, or expertise in advanced dental techniques, so they simply extract the problem teeth, or refer their patients to a specialty facility like our Animal Dental Clinic. We strive to return your pet’s damaged teeth to their proper function by maintaining the tooth structure’s integrity with restoration techniques.

What is restorative bonding in pets?

Restorative bonding is a fancy term used to describe anything that replaces lost tooth structure, teeth, or oral tissues. Examples include:

  • Fillings
  • Inlays
  • Onlays
  • Veneers
  • Crowns
  • Bridges
  • Implants
  • Dentures
  • Obturators

In general, we use fillings and crowns to repair enamel defects or dental issues in pets, but other options may improve your furry pal’s oral health. 

The restorative process involves bonding a synthetic material to the tooth to maintain its integrity and function. Today’s composite materials can be bonded to a wide array of substances, such as cast metal crowns on police dogs’ canines. 

How will I know if my pet is a candidate for restorative bonding?

Not all pets’ dental issues can be solved using restorative bonding, however. If the tooth is too damaged, extraction may be the only option. To determine if your pet’s diseased or damaged tooth can be restored, our team would take the following steps:

  • Perform an awake oral exam, if possible
  • Run pre-anesthetic testing to evaluate your pet’s health status
  • Place your pet under general anesthesia
  • Take full-mouth dental X-rays to search for hidden problems
  • Examine each tooth and oral structure under anesthesia
  • Create the best treatment plan for your pet’s condition

Without a thorough evaluation, including dental charting, probing, and X-rays, while your pet is anesthetized, we cannot determine if enough of the tooth structure is undamaged to be salvageable.

What happens to my pet during the restorative bonding process?

While each pet’s restorative bonding procedure will be different based on their dental care needs, a routine cavity is filled the same way as your own dentist. During a cavity repair, the dead and damaged dentin is removed with a high speed drill, the dentin bonded with a polymer to eliminate sensitivity, the hole filled with composite, and a sealant is bonded onto the repaired surface. The purpose of each treatment plan is the same—to return the damaged tooth to one that is healthy and functioning.

If your pet has fractured a tooth or developed an enamel defect, restorative bonding may be their best repair option. Contact your Animal Dental Clinic team for an evaluation.