We address all kinds of oral health problems in pets, and a dog with a broken tooth is an all-too-common case. It’s not hard to guess why, because dogs like to chew—and they’re not picky about what they chew! In any event, a broken tooth (or worse, several broken teeth) can become a serious health issue if not treated in a timely manner.
Below, we’ll discuss the risks of having a broken tooth, what signs your dog may show as a result of this problem, and how we can fix it.
The Dangers of Your Dog Having a Broken Tooth
As hardy and carefree as our pets might seem, an oral problem like a broken tooth can cause quite a few problems for your dog, including:
- Severe pain
- Pulp exposure
- Bacterial infection, which can attack the tooth root
These issues can in turn affect your pet’s ability to eat and play, and can get in the way of them living the happy life they deserve.
Signs Your Dog Has a Broken Tooth
While your dog cannot tell you if they have a broken tooth, there are some signs that might indicate an oral problem! These signs include:
- Dropping food when eating
- Drooling a lot more than normal
- Chewing on one side of the mouth
- Pawing or rubbing at mouth/muzzle
- Shying away from having face or mouth handled
- Avoiding eating harder/chewier foods
- Sleeping more often than usual
- Changes in behavior, such as increased irritability
Even with a broken tooth or other oral problem, some pets will not show any obvious outward signs of discomfort. If this sounds like your pet but you still suspect an issue, be sure to see a vet as soon as possible!
How We Can Treat Your Dog’s Broken Tooth
Treating your dog’s broken tooth begins with an exam and ends with one of several treatment options, depending on the extent of the damage.
Here’s what we can do:
Initial Oral Examination
First, we need to see your pet face to face so we can examine their mouth and check for a broken tooth (or teeth). We may also have some questions for you, to help us ascertain what may have caused your pet’s broken tooth.
A tooth may look only slightly chipped on the outside, but what could be going on inside the tooth? Is there any hidden damage below the gum line? Dental X-rays play a critical role in helping us evaluate a patient’s oral health. We can see inside the teeth and even into the surrounding jawbone. Most important, dental X-rays can help us assess the damage to a tooth and determine whether that tooth can be saved.
If your dog’s tooth is damaged beyond repair, vulnerable to infection and causing them serious pain, we will need to remove it as soon as possible. This will alleviate your pet’s discomfort, prevent bacterial infection, and improve their quality of life. While a tooth extraction might seem unpleasant for your pup, with appropriate pain management and antibiotics, they will heal fully in time and eventually be able to eat and play as normal. We routinely perform tooth extractions at our hospital, generally as a last resort when no other treatment option is possible.
Root Canal Therapy
If your pet’s tooth is damaged but not beyond repair, we can preserve it with the help of root canal therapy. A fractured tooth can leave the pulp inside the tooth exposed and vulnerable to infection. To preserve the tooth, we remove the pulp and disinfect the space left behind. Then, we fill the space with a bacteria-resistant material and cap off the tooth with a crown to prevent bacteria from entering.
Dental Crowns and Fillings
Dental crowns and fillings are a part of what is known as restorative dentistry, which helps to restore the form and function of a damaged tooth. Crowns protect damaged teeth from future damage and help to make them stronger. At Veterinary Dental Services, LLC, we use zirconium and titanium crowns.
Tooth fillings for dogs are similar to the fillings humans get when they have cavities. If your dog’s tooth has a chip or minor fracture, we may be able to place a filling to restore the tooth and reduce discomfort.
Are You Worried that Your Dog Has a Broken Tooth?
Our team at Veterinary Dental Services, LLC is more than happy to help. Cat and dog dentistry is our specialty, and as an AAHA-accredited practice, we implement the highest standards of care and safety every day. If your dog is suffering from a broken tooth, get in touch with us right away by calling (978) 929-9200!