This photo to the right depicts a dog appearing to have moderate periodontal disease. However, physical exam alone is not enough. Digital dental x-rays at Anasazi Animal Clinic tell the true story of severe periodontal disease as well as the large apical (root) abscess in this tooth. This abscess was caused by a developmental condition known as Dens invaginatus.

Dens invaginatus arises as the result of invagination of enamel on the crown of a tooth before it becomes calcified. This is most commonly seen in the first molar tooth of the dog. This invagination allows bacteria into the pulpal tissue causing necrosis and tooth abscess.

Endodontic treatment may be an option but is technically difficult and requires a crown restoration. The alternative treatment is surgical extraction. Both treatments relieve the suffering caused by the chronic pain and effects of chronic infection.


The x-ray to the right shows the root abscess resulting from disruption of the pulp by the invaginated enamel.

Dental radiography is essential in the diagnosis and treatment of this condition. Had x-rays not been taken this condition would have surely been overlooked and the patient would have suffered many more months of discomfort and harmful effects to their health.