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A computed tomographic and pathological study of equine cheek teeth infundibulae extracted from asymptomatic horses. Part 2: MicroCT, gross and histological findings

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    Rights statement: Copyright © 2019 Horbal, Smith and Dixon. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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Original languageEnglish
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2019


Background: Equine maxillary cheek teeth infundibulae are frequently affected by developmental and acquired disorders, but the imaging, gross and histological features of normal and abnormal infundibulae remain incompletely understood.
Objective: To perform MicroCT, gross examination and histology on sectioned teeth and compare the imaging and anatomical
findings. Study design: Ex vivo original study.
Methods: Eight maxillary cheek teeth of different ages and with varying grades of occlusal infundibular caries were extracted
from equine heads obtained from an abattoir. The teeth were imaged by MicroCT, then transversely sectioned and grossly and
histologically examined, with the imaging and anatomical findings compared.
Results: Histologically, hypoplastic cemental areas consisted of irregularly-shaped, wide central channels, with multiple, cylindrical side-branches that extended peripherally to a variable extent. Cementum with extensive, wide, empty channels and cementum with a more irregular moth-eaten appearance had low HU on CT. Some infundibulae had cement-free areas that only contained
fragments of collagen-like material, especially at their apical aspects. Carious subocclusal areas had connections with the occlusal surface and had disrupted cemental architecture, including of their central vascular channel that, along with their side branches, contained degraded food and cemental debris.
Main Limitations: No clinical histories or accurate ages were available for these teeth.
Conclusions: Hypoplastic cemental lesions, including at central linear and apical sites, histologically contain areas with multiple wide-branched cylindrical channels or even areas of total cement hypoplasia and when such cemental defects contact the occlusal surface, food impaction and caries can ensue. There was no clear cut distinction between “normal” infundibular vascular channels
and central linear hypoplastic defects.

    Research areas

  • Equine dentistry, equine dental imaging, equine cheek teeth, Infundibular caries

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