Moskey Dental Laboratories in Cleveland, OH, fabricates four non-precious alloy crowns to help a police dog get back on his beat.
A police dog without teeth is like a lamp without a light bulb: it just won't work. So when Killian, a German Shepherd with the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, damaged his canine teeth by chewing on his metal bowl, he was at risk of losing his teeth—and his job.
Killian's veterinarian asked her father, dentist Brad Knapp, to perform root canals on all four teeth and asked his laboratory, Moskey Dental Laboratories in Cleveland, if it could fabricate crowns for a dog; the lab immediately accepted the challenge.
It turns out this wasn't the lab's first experience fabricating crowns for a four-legged patient. John Hickey, Moskey's Technical Director and Fixed Department Manager, was trained in the U.S. Air Force where dogs would often receive crowns to replace damaged teeth. Since he has worked on about 20 dog cases (three of them at Moskey), he knew the challenges that lay ahead.
While the process of making Killian's crowns started just like any other restoration, with the dentist taking the impression and the lab pouring up a model, separating the cast from the impression was tricky. "The teeth are long, narrow and divergent, so you have to be careful not to break them," says Hickey. "We had to separate the cast very slowly and carefully."
Also, since a dog's bite is very different from a human's—it's more of a scissor action—the model can't be mounted on an articulator. So, after they scanned the model, Moskey technicians used 3Shape's CAD design software's digital articulator to make sure the teeth occluded correctly and the bite didn't interlock.
Next, the crowns were printed in plastic on 3D System's DP3000 3D printer, invested and cast. To achieve the required strength, Hickey went with a non-precious alloy for the restoration, making Killian one intimidating-looking pooch.
Since the 99-lb patient had to be knocked out for the procedure, the pressure was on to deliver restorations needing as little adjustment as possible; luckily none were needed. According to Hickey, Killian is doing great with his new crowns and is back to work. "All the other dogs are afraid of him!" he laughs.
Moskey Dental Laboratories donated its time and materials needed to fabricate Killian's restorations. "We're happy to help someone who gives so much to the community," says Rob Lash, President of the 88-year-old, family-run lab, "even if he is an animal!"