Fractured or broken teeth in dogs are a common occurrence. Most often they happen from chewing on hard objects like bones, antlers or unsafe chew toys. Whether it’s a small chip or a more severe fracture, your dog is likely in pain. Unfortunately, dogs are very good at hiding their pain as a survival mechanism, making detection of a chipped or broken tooth difficult for an owner.
Are Broken Dog Teeth an Emergency?
If you are aware of the fact that your dog has broken a tooth, you may wonder if it’s an emergency that should be treated immediately. The answer is YES. Waiting to treat a fracture, even a minor one, can result in more damage to the tooth and infection. If left untreated, broken teeth that become infected can cause other systemic issues in the body.
Categories of Tooth Fractures in Dogs
There are two main types of fractures that your pup might experience when they break a tooth: uncomplicated fractures and complicated fractures. Depending on the severity of the fracture, there are multiple treatment options to consider. At East Valley Animal Hospital in Gilbert, we treat both complicated and uncomplicated tooth fractures.
Uncomplicated Crown Fractures
An uncomplicated tooth fracture is defined as a crack or chip in the enamel, which exposes the dentin underneath but does not reach the pulp. When caught early, these types of fractures are easily treated by sealing the fracture site. First, your vet will do an oral examination and ensure that there is no evidence of bacterial infection of the pulp. Then, they will smooth down the fracture site and apply a bonding agent that will seal the exposed dentin. Once this treatment is performed, any pain associated with the fracture should begin to subside.
Complicated Crown Fractures
A complicated tooth fracture is one that reaches the pulp of the tooth and always has some degree of infection. If the fracture is caught and treated within the first 48, a less invasive procedure called vital pulp therapy can sometimes be used. With this procedure, the infected pulp is removed, a cement compound is placed over the pulp, and the remaining cavity is cleaned and filled with a bonding agent and composite restorative material.
When vital pulp therapy is not an option, broken teeth with infected pulp require either a root canal, which can save a tooth, or a complete extraction. Your veterinarian will determine the best treatment option after a thorough assessment and exam.
Vet Dentist in Gilbert Arizona
Dog dental care is not only a part of our practice, we specialize in it. Dr. Mafara has worked closely with his mentors at Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists to ensure our team at East Valley Animal Hospital is providing the most innovative and safe treatments available in pet dental care. If your dog has broken a tooth, please treat it as an emergency and bring them in for an exam and treatment as soon as possible.