Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Photos of Dawn's Removed (and Cleaned) Teeth

After about a week, the teeth are clean enough for public viewing.  Dawn continues to do very well and eat up a storm, and once you see the photos, you'll understand why she's much more comfortable now even though her mouth is still healing.

These teeth are from the left side of her mandible (lower jaw).  The tooth that was removed last month was from the right side of her mandible.  It's hard to believe when you see these photos, but the tooth that was removed last month - the 409 - was in much worse shape - only the buccal (cheek) portion of the crown was left and the tooth was listing towards her cheek, putting it above the dental arcade and also abrading her cheek.  Removal of the 409 last month resulted in much improved eating, even with the two teeth shown below still in her mouth.

A paraphrase of the dental surgeon's report before the surgery to remove these two teeth:
308 is fractured with only a small buccal portion remaining in the mouth.  This tooth appears to have complete endodontic failure, and has a large periapical lucency [indicating periodontal or root disease].  The 309 appears to have mesial root resorption and bone loss.  This tooth is probably being affected by the periodontal disease present around the fractured 308.
Here's the buccal (cheek-side) view - the 308 premolar is to the left (towards the front of the mouth) and the 309 molar (towards the back of the mouth) is to the right - the gum line at the top of the 309 is clearly visible.  The 308 has developed a nasty hook in the middle. The two tooth fragments below the 309 are pieces of the root - the piece towards the middle broke off during or after the surgery, and the piece to the far right was actually broken off the tooth in situ (visible on x-rays), and was pushing up against and aggravating the adjacent tooth.  That fragment didn't come with the 309 when it was removed, and x-rays after the teeth were removed showed it was still there - the surgeon went right back and got it out - that's the degree of care they used.

Here is the lingual (tongue-side) view of the 308 premolar (to the right - towards the front of the mouth) and 309 molar (to the left - towards the back of the mouth) that were removed - the severe damage to the 308 is visible in this photo:

Here's a top view of the teeth, which shows how much of the lingual (tongue-side) aspect of the 308 was missing - I find the folds of dentin and enamel fascinating - my own dentist has asked to see the teeth since he was so interested when I was describing their structure:

And here's a close up of the 308 - even after a week of soaking and drying, there's still pieces of old hay packed down into the roots that won't come out - it's hard to imagine how uncomfortable this must have been for Dawn:

Dawn should really benefit from having these teeth out.  She's always had difficulty maintaining her weight, particularly in the winter, and this should now be less of an issue.  And untreated periodontal disease, besides being very uncomfortable, also can lead to overall poor health.

My equine dentist, who referred me to the dental surgeons (my regular vet/vet hospital also uses this same dental surgeon for all their dental surgery), was very pleased that the surgeons were able to help her out.  Having good (make that great) professionals to help out my horses when needed is very reassuring.


  1. wow - how fascinating. I hope Dawn recovers quickly and feels better now that those broken teeth are gone. As much as veterinary work is stressful and expensive, it is always a chance to learn somehting. Sounds like you have a great team of experts to call on!

  2. Great pictures Kate and clear explanations of what we are seeing. I bet Dawn is much happier now!


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