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Keywords:

  • cheek teeth;
  • dental MR imaging;
  • horse;
  • pulpitis;
  • pulp necrosis

A retrospective analysis of 619 upper and lower cheek teeth from 62 horses was performed. Based on clinical findings, as well as radiographic and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings, the teeth were classified into five groups. There were 20 teeth with abnormal MR imaging signals as well as clinical alterations and 599 healthy teeth. Using MR imaging, the appearance of pulp in diseased and disease-free teeth was compared, and the appearance of abnormal pulp was studied. Subsequently, the ability of MR imaging to diagnose pulpitis and pulp necrosis in teeth with normal external appearance was investigated. In horses with clinically verified dental disease, abnormal MR imaging findings were confirmed in the pulp of all affected teeth. An enlarged blurred pulp image with a lower signal intensity was observed only in clinically diseased teeth and was a reliable criterion for diagnosing dental disease on MR imaging. On the other hand, partial or complete absence of pulp in all MR imaging sequences was observed in both diseased and nondiseased teeth. These data demonstrate that pulp changes in equine cheek teeth can be evaluated using MR imaging.