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October 14, 2014



       Curt Ritchie, DVM



If you are reading this, you obviously have an interest in veterinary dentistry. I want to first give you a round of applause. Likely, everything you know about dentistry, you have learned on your own. To say that our education system failed most of us would be a vast understatement.

Now, I would like to ask many of you to slow down. I do quite a bit of referral dentistry and I have hosted many lectures and wet labs. For some time now, I have received many requests to teach or help get people started performing root canals and restorations. While I am happy to see veterinarians motivated to continue to learn more dentistry, I feel obligated to give my opinion as to why this may not be such a good idea.

I have performed literally thousands of soft tissue and orthopedic surgeries over the past 18 years. Performing an acceptable root canal is hands-down, the hardest procedure I have ever attempted. What did it take for me to get an “acceptable” root canal? It took going to least a dozen specialized wet labs, reading multiple textbooks and literally hundreds of hours of cadaver work. Sure, anyone can perform a root canal – trust me, I’ve seen a few failures. But, if you’re going to do a procedure, you need to do it well. Remember, the pet wasn’t complaining about its painful fractured/non-vital tooth. It’s not going to complain about the painful failed root canal either. Oh, and then there are the adverse events that may occur you need to now how to handle – perforated wall or apex, ledging, broken file tips etc.

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