Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Veterinary Dentistry


Who doesn't love animals?

Today's post has two parts to it.  The first is a fascinating and feel good story that comes from the Point Defiance Zoo in Tacoma, Washington.  It seems that one of the zoo's Sumatran tigers suffered a fractured tooth.  While Sanjiv the tiger was chewing on one of his toys. he fractured one of his lower canine teeth (even though it is in a tiger, the tooth is still called a canine).  The event was witnessed by one of his keepers and it was discovered that not only did he fracture the tooth, he fractured it severely.  Upon inspection of the fragment, it was discovered to be almost an inch long.  The fracture also created another problem.  Beyond breaking the tooth, the fracture had also exposed the pulp inside the tooth.  The pulp is soft tissue that contains blood vessels and nerves.  When the pulp as exposed it creates a pathway for bacteria to get into the body which can cause an infection.

So the good folks at Point Defiance Zoo went to work to get Sanjiv all fixed up.  This is where I think the story becomes really fascinating, from a dental point of view.

The zoo brought in Dr. Alice Sievers.  She is a board certified veterinary dentist and oral surgeon.  She and the team sedated the tiger and proceeded to perform a root canal on the injured tooth.

There is a great story covering this on the Seattle Times website as well as some pretty incredible photos as well.

The second part of today's post is about the market for veterinary dentistry.  Like all branches of healthcare, the market that cares for animals is seeing growth as knowledge increases and many pet owners are willing to to spend to keep their pets in optimum health.

The market for veterinary dental instruments & equipment is expected to grow from a 2022 level of $358.2 million to a whopping $615.3million by 2031.

One of the points I find fascinating is that the technology growth we have experienced in the treatment of human dental patients is now being adopted by the veterinary industry.  They are now using things like lasers and digital radiography.

If you are interested in diving a little deeper into the subject, there is a great report from Transparency Market Research that provides much more detailed information.  

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