Will a dog’s broken tooth heal? Here’s What to Do Next

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How do dogs break their teeth?

Fractured teeth are a common occurrence in dogs and can result from external trauma (e.g., when hit by a car, or an object) or from chewing on hard objects such as antlers, bones, or other hard, non-bending chew toys. The most frequently broken teeth in the dog are the canine (fang) teeth, and the large upper pointy cheek teeth in the back of the mouth.

Treatment Options for a Broken Dog Tooth

Teeth with an uncomplicated crown fracture can be treated by sealing the fracture site. This treatment must only be performed on teeth that do not have any evidence of infection of the pulp and are periodontally healthy. Evaluating these crown fractures is not possible without dental radiographs and a comprehensive oral exam under anesthesia.

Treating an uncomplicated crown fracture first involves smoothing the fracture site so that it no longer has a roughened surface that will be more plaque retentive. A mild etchant and bonding agent are then applied to seal the exposed dentin. This will inhibit infection and relieve pain associated with the fracture.

With time a tooth with an uncomplicated fracture that has not been treated can become infected. Bacteria on the exposed surface of dentin migrate through small dentin tubules to the pulp canal and potentially cause an irreversible infection of the pulp. Once an irreversible infection of the pulp takes place a smoothing/sealing procedure described above is no longer a viable treatment option. A tooth with an irreversible pulp infection can only be treated appropriately with a surgical extraction or root canal therapy.

How a vet fixes a dog’s broken tooth. Dr. Dan explains the two options for a broken tooth in a dog.

If you realize your dog has broken a tooth, you don’t need to panic, but it is important to seek dental care as soon as possible to avoid any further issues or complications with their tooth or overall dental health. Broken teeth are a very common problem in dogs, who will chew on just about anything. Broken teeth can come from chewing on hard objects or trauma such as rough play, or catching hard objects thrown at them. While all broken teeth should be assessed by a veterinarian, some fractures are painful and need to be treated sooner. Read on to learn more about chipped and broken teeth in dogs.

Dogs most commonly chip or break their canine teeth (fangs) and their maxillary fourth premolars, the large upper chewing teeth in the back of their mouth. The front canine teeth can break from rough play such as tug of war, catching hard objects while playing fetch, or pulling heavy objects with their mouths. The larger back chewing teeth can break from chewing on hard objects, such as chew toys, antlers, real bones, ice, antlers, or cow hooves. To avoid broken teeth, give your dog softer chew toys and treats. Every time you take your pet to the veterinarian, make sure they check your pet’s teeth for any chipped or broken teeth. Broken teeth can sometimes be hard to see, especially in the back of the mouth. As soon as you notice a broken tooth in your dog’s mouth, you should make an appointment for your pet to be seen as soon as possible to treat the problem.

Depending on the severity of the broken tooth, your veterinarian may choose to treat the problem in a number of different ways. If there is exposed dentin (the part of the tooth under the enamel layer), it is a more superficial wound and should be checked thoroughly to avoid any overlooked signs of damage or decay before the fracture site can be sealed and smoothed. If your dog’s broken tooth has an exposed pulp chamber, the damage can be more severe. Your veterinarian may choose to perform root canal therapy, vital pulp therapy (occasionally used for very recent fractures), or extraction to treat a broken tooth with an exposed pulp chamber.

While a broken tooth isn’t an extreme emergency, you should try and get your dog to a veterinarian with dentistry services as soon as possible once you notice they have a broken tooth in order to avoid any further damage. If your dog has a broken tooth, call Animal Care Center of Castle Pines at (303) 688-3660 or visit our website to schedule an appointment today. With the right treatment from our dedicated veterinarians, your dog can make a full recovery.

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