Diastemata and Periodontal Disease
Diastemata is the name given to gaps that can form between the teeth. In some cases these gaps trap food, causing gum disease and severe pain. If left untreated then the gum disease can spread, and cause infection of the periodontal structures that attach the tooth to the gum and alveolar bone; in some cases infection of the bone or sinuses may also occur.
Provisional diagnosis can be made by a combination of clinical signs such as quidding (dropping balls of partly chewed food from the mouth), weight loss or halitosis (smelly breath), and careful palpation of the teeth especially at gum level. Use of a dental mirror and bright light, or our dental endoscope will give further information pertaining to the location of the diastemata and extent of gum disease. Radiographs are often employed in order to assess the bony structures of the head and any tooth root involvement, and to give an indication of whether the condition is likely to get better with time. This is especially important in younger horses.
Our Periodontal Unit allows us to treat and manage this serious condition. The food and diseased tissue can be removed using pressuring water and air abrasion and where necessary gaps can be widened to prevent food becoming trapped. This is often performed in combination with dental correction as overgrowths are often seen with this sort of dental disease. Pockets in the gum can then be filled with antibiotic and impression material to allow healing to occur. In some cases dental extraction may be indicated, for example if the affected teeth are loose or there is evidence of tooth root infection.
The specialised periodontal unit can also be used to prepare fractured incisor teeth for filling. Filling the exposed pulp cavity prevents infection getting into the tooth root and killing the tooth.