Two- and three-dimensional computed tomographic anatomy of the enamel, infundibulae and pulp of 126 equine cheek teeth. Part 1: Findings in teeth without macroscopic occlusal or computed tomographic lesions


Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, Royal Veterinary College, Hawkshead Lane, North Mymms, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL9 7TA, UK


Reasons for performing study: Dental disorders are of major clinical importance in equine practice; however, the knowledge of normal dental anatomy, especially that of the pulp remains incomplete. Computed tomography (CT) is being used increasingly in the diagnosis of dental disease, although the normal 2- (2D) and 3-dimensional (3D) CT anatomy has not yet been fully described.

Objective: To describe the 2D and 3D CT appearance of the enamel, infundibulae and pulp of normal equine cheek teeth.

Methods: One-hundred-and-twenty-six cadaveric cheek teeth with eruption ages of 0.5–19 years were evaluated; CT scans of each tooth were performed after occlusal surface examination with a dental probe. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the enamel, infundibulae and pulp were created from the CT scans using greyscale thresholding and subsequent polynomial meshing. Each tooth was sectioned coronally or axially into serial slices using a band saw and the sections compared to the corresponding CT images.

Results: The CT reconstructions enabled the systematic description of the pulpar anatomy of the mandibular and maxillary cheek teeth in 3D, which has not been described in detail previously. The number of interpulpar communications between pulp horns and the pulpar volume of each tooth was shown to decrease with increasing age. The interpulpar communications of the maxillary cheek teeth were found to be of greater complexity and variety in comparison to their mandibular counterparts. Mandibular and maxillary cheek teeth showed different, but consistent patterns in their pulpar and enamel morphology.

Conclusions and potential relevance: The detailed description of the normal 2D and 3D CT appearance of equine cheek teeth provides a reference basis for the diagnosis of dental disease with CT. Additionally, in depth knowledge of the pulpar anatomy of the equine cheek teeth is an essential prerequisite if endodontic therapy is to develop further in the future.