Partial Pulpectomy of the Incisors in Rabbits (Disease Investigation & Management - Treatment and Care)

Summary Information
Type of technique Health & Management / Disease Investigation & Management / Techniques:
Synonyms and Keywords Partial vital pulpectomy and vital pulp therapy
  • Work under aseptic conditions. (B601.18.w18, J213.6.w2)
  • Remove 3-4 mm of pulp using a fine round diamond burr in a high-speed dental handpiece, water-cooled. (B601.18.w18)
  • If haemorrhage occurs, stop this using a small piece of sterile dressing material. (J213.6.w2)
  • Gently apply a thin layer of calcium hydroxide powder to the pulp. (B601.18.w18)
  • Restore the tooth using a hard-setting calcium hydroxide cement. (B601.18.w18, J213.6.w2)
    • The cement protects the pulp and stimulates deposition of dentine. (J213.6.w2)
    • As the tooth returns to occlusion, the cement is gradually removed by normal wear. (J213.6.w2)
    • Note: it is important that the cement is of the correct type - sufficiently hard, but not so hard that it does not wear down with the teeth. (V.w125)
  • Aftercare: 
    • Trim the opposing tooth if needed to prevent overgrowth while the affected tooth regrows to a normal length. (J213.6.w2)
Appropriate Use (?)
  • For fractured incisors with the pulp exposed. (B601.18.w18, B602.34.w34a, J213.6.w2)
  • If the pulp is exposed during trimming of the incisors. (B601.18.w18)
  • Trim the opposing tooth as needed to prevent overgrowth while the affected tooth regrows to a normal length. (J213.6.w2)
Complications/ Limitations / Risk
  • Only appropriate if the injury is recent. (B602.34.w34a)
  • If the injury which caused the pulp exposure has also damaged periapical tissues, the tooth may grow deformed. (B601.18.w18)
  • If the tooth fails to erupt following treatment, this suggests the tooth is devitalised and extraction is probably needed. (B601.18.w18)
    • If normal regrowth does not occur, assess radiographically. (B602.34.w34a)
  • If normal occlusion is not restored, due to deformity, extraction of the tooth or periodic shortening and shaping is required (see above). (B602.34.w34a)
Equipment / Chemicals required and Suppliers
  • Fine round diamond burr in a high-speed dental handpiece, water-cooled. (B601.18.w18)

  • Calcium hydroxide powder.

  • Calcium hydroxide cement.

  • Sterile dressing material.

Expertise level / Ease of Use
  • This procedure should only be carried out by an individual with appropriate clinical training and practical experience.
  • Preferably carried out by an individual with good expertise in this type of procedure. (B601.18.w18)
Cost/ Availability
  • Requires appropriate dental equipment.
  • The costs of a surgical operation include those associated with: (J15.30.w1)

    • Pre-operative diagnostics (e.g. radiography, ultrasonography, blood tests)
    • Anaesthesia.
    • Perioperative medication (e.g. analgesics, antibiotics, fluids).
    • Surgical preparation (of the operating theatre and the patient, including staff time).
    • Consumables and equipment.
    • Time of the surgeon and assistant(s).
    • Post-operative hospitalisation.
Legal and Ethical Considerations In some countries there may be legislation restricting the use of this type of technique to licensed veterinarians. For example in the UK: "The Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966 (Section 19) provides, subject to a number of exceptions, that only registered members of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons may practice veterinary surgery." (See: LCofC1 - RCVS Guide to Professional Conduct 2000 - Treatment of Animals by Non-Veterinary Surgeons).
Author Debra Bourne MA VetMB PhD MRCVS (V.w5)
Referee Molly Varga BVetMed DZooMed MRCVS (V.w125)
References B601.18.w18, B602.34.w34a, J15.30.w1, J213.6.w2

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