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BACKGROUND: Recent studies reported on the very complex morphology of the pulp system in equine cheek teeth. The continuous production of secondary dentine leads to distinct age-related changes of the endodontic cavity. Detailed anatomical knowledge of the dental cavities in all ages is required to explain the aetiopathology of typical equine endodontic diseases. Furthermore, data on mandibular and maxillary pulp systems is in high demand to provide a basis for the development of endodontic therapies. However, until now examination of the pulp cavity has been based on either sectioned teeth or clinical computed tomography. More precise results were expected by using micro-computed tomography with a resolution of about 0.1 mm and three-dimensional reconstructions based on previous greyscale analyses and histological verification. The aim of the present study was to describe the physiological configurations of the pulp system within a wide spectrum of tooth ages. RESULTS: Maxillary teeth: All morphological constituents of the endodontic cavity were present in teeth between 4 and 16 years: Triadan 06s displayed six pulp horns and five root canals, Triadan 07-10s five pulp horns and four root canals and Triadan 11s seven pulp horns and four to six root canals. A common pulp chamber was most frequent in teeth <=5 years, but was found even in a tooth of 9 years. A large variety of pulp configurations was observed within 2.5 and 16 years post eruption, but most commonly a separation into mesial and distal pulp compartments was seen. Maxillary cheek teeth showed up to four separate pulp compartments but the frequency of two, three and four pulp compartments was not related to tooth age (P > 0.05). In Triadan 06s, pulp horn 6 was always connected to pulp horns 1 and 3 and root canal I. In Triadan 11s, pulp horns 7 and 8 were present in variable constitutions. Mandibular teeth: A common pulp chamber was present in teeth up to 15 years, but most commonly seen in teeth <=5 years. A segmented pulp system was found in 72% of the investigated teeth. Segmentation into separate mesial and distal pulp compartments was most commonly present. Pulp horn 4 coalesced either with the mesial pulp horns 1 and 3 or with the distal pulp horns 2 and 5. CONCLUSIONS: Details of the pulpar anatomy of equine cheek teeth are provided, supporting the continuous advancement in endodontic therapy. Numerous individual configurations of the pulp system were obtained in maxillary cheek teeth, but much less variability was seen in mandibular cheek teeth.
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Animal anatomy, Endodontics, Tooth, Dentin, Root canal, Endodontic therapy, Dental caries, Teeth
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