What are dental crowns for dogs?

A black dog sitting in snow panting and showing teeth

What are dental crowns for dogs?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap used in the field of human and veterinary dentistry. Dental crowns can be either permanent or temporary. In human dentistry, they are fabricated from various materials like porcelain, ceramic, resin, metal, or a combination of these, often matching the natural tooth color. However, when it comes to dental crowns for dogs, they are typically constructed from a robust metal alloy, capable of withstanding the substantial biting force of dogs, which far surpasses that of humans.


Why might a dog receive a dental crown?


A Board-Certified Veterinary Dentist may commonly recommend a dental crown for a dog after performing a root canal treatment on a fractured tooth. The crown’s purpose is to safeguard the tooth, preventing further wear or damage, particularly when it’s challenging to eliminate the behavior that caused the initial tooth fracture, such as aggressive chewing or cage biting. The most common placement of a crown on a dog is for police dogs and hunting dogs to protect the teeth after root canal therapy.  Additionally, crowns may be used preventively on teeth with enamel defects or significant wear, which makes them more susceptible to fractures.

Which teeth can be crowned?


Typically, canine (fang) teeth are the most common candidates for dental crowns. The upper fourth premolars and lower first molars, which are the dog’s primary chewing teeth, are sometimes fitted with crowns. While it is technically possible to crown other teeth, this is not a common practice.


What occurs when a dog undergoes a dental crown procedure?


Dental crowns for dogs are always customized to precisely fit the individual tooth. Consequently, the process involves two anesthetic procedures. In the first procedure, often immediately following a root canal treatment, a veterinary dentist removes a small amount of enamel from around the tooth’s surface to create space for the crown. This ensures the crown sits on the tooth without causing abnormal contact with neighboring teeth. Subsequently, a mold of the tooth is made using specialized molding materials. The mold is then sent to a crown lab where the metal crown is fabricated. A second procedure is needed to securely affix the crown, typically occurring within two weeks of the initial procedure.


What is the typical lifespan of dental crowns for dogs?


In most cases, a metal crown for a dog will endure for the animal’s lifetime. However, there is a possibility that a crown might dislodge or that the remaining tooth could break at the root due to inappropriate chewing, engaging in fights with other dogs, or sustaining some form of trauma. It is crucial to avoid allowing your dog to chew on hard objects like rocks, antlers, hard nylon bones, or anything harder than what can be dented with your thumbnail. Regular toothbrushing and vigilant monitoring are also advisable to maintain the tooth’s health and detect any issues early.


Learn more about dental crowns on our website: Dental Crowns for Dogs | Animal Dental Specialists Birmingham


If you would like to find out if your pet is a candidate for a dental crown, please call our office at 205-988-8654.
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