Does your dog have a broken tooth? Fractured teeth are very common in dogs and most commonly the result from external trauma. Teeth can also break after your dog chews on hard objects such as furniture, bones or hard toys. In most cases a dog will break one of his fangs. However, theoretically speaking every type of tooth can be broken.
What does a broken tooth look like in dogs?
Fractured teeth are the result of a chip in the enamel and the dentin. In more severe cases the tooth can be so fractured that even the nerves are exposed to the outside.
There are five classifications of fractured teeth in dogs:
- Enamel fracture — The loss of crown substance that is tied to the enamel.
- Uncomplicated crown fracture — A fracture of the crown that does not expose the pulp.
- Complicated crown fracture — A fracture of the crown that does expose the pulp.
- Uncomplicated crown-root fracture — A fracture of the crown and root that does not expose the pulp.
- Complicated crown-root fracture — A fracture of the crown and root that exposes the pulp.
- Root fracture — A fracture involving the root of the tooth.
Can a broken tooth become a problem for a dog?
Yes, a fractured tooth can indeed become a problem. The chipped enamel can expose the dentin which can make the affected tooth become sensitive to heat, cold or pressure.
But it gets even worse if the pulp of the tooth is exposed. The inside of the tooth can then fill up with infected material that can find it’s way to the jaw and create a more severe infection.
The infection has a great hiding spot inside the root canal. That will make it difficult for your dog’s immune system to create a response to the infection. In some cases, even antibiotics will fail to help. Meanwhile, bacteria exiting the tooth’s apex can spread causing local tooth pain every time your dog chews on something.
What are the signs of a broken dog tooth?
If you are unsure if your dog’s tooth is indeed fractured, be on the lookout for these signs:
- Difficulty chewing or chewing on only one side
- Excessive drooling
- Grinding the teeth
- Dropping food while eating
- Pawing at the mouth
- Swelling of the face
- Your dog pulling back when you try to touch his face
- Enlargement of lymph nodes
How can my dog’s broken tooth be fixed?
While mild cases of fractured teeth won’t need treatment, more severe ones will.
If the nerve of your dog’s tooth is exposed, then there are two options — root canal therapy or extraction.
However, if the nerve is not exposed, the tooth may be repaired without any root canal therapy at all.
We will explain the possible procedures in the easiest way possible.
Root canal therapy involves removal of the infected tissue inside. It’s a very effective procedure and the results are usually excellent.
A crown can also be placed after the root canal treatment to replace the missing crown from your dog’s tooth.
If the tooth was recently fractured, your vet may suggest vital pulp therapy. This treatment keeps the tooth alive while offering a protective barrier on top of the teeth.
Extraction of a broken tooth will be done if there are no other options left. However, in most cases vets avoid extraction of an fractured but otherwise healthy tooth.