A histological and ultrastructural study of equine peripheral caries

Dewi Borkent, Sionagh Smith, Paddy Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To examine affected cheek teeth histologically and ultrastructurally, to assess the possible route(s) of carious infection into the dental tissues and to further describe the pathological changes in affected teeth.
Study design: Descriptive pathological study
Methods: Four control and 16 cheek teeth with different grades of PC were examined grossly, histologically and by electron microscopy.
Results: Cariogenic bacteria from plaque entered peripheral cementum perpendicular to the sides of teeth alongside Sharpey’s fibres or vascular channels or more horizontally alongside exposed intrinsic fibres and cemental growth lines. Subsequent intra-cemental bacterial spread created different patterns of caries including vertical and horizontal flake-like patterns; deep, large flask-shaped or smaller superficial ellipsoid-shaped lytic lesions. Cemental caries progressed to affect enamel, dentine and even pulp. Gross examination underestimated the degree of caries observed on histological evaluation.
Main limitations: No dental histories were available; all teeth were examined on a single occasion.
Conclusion: Equine PC causes different patterns of cemental lesions that appear dependent on the route of cariogenic bacterial invasion. Progression of caries can lead to pulpitis and tooth loss. Gross examination can underestimate the true extent of caries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Early online date30 Apr 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2019


  • Horse
  • equine dentistry
  • peripheral caries
  • equine dental pathology
  • dental electron microscopy


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