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Dog in the grass

Canine Trauma

Dog Smiling

How do animals fracture their teeth?

Dogs break their teeth most commonly from chewing on antlers, bone, hard nylon products, ice cubes, and hard plastic toys.

In the mature dog or cat, the upper canines are most commonly broken, followed by the lower canines, the cheek teeth.

Dog with tongue out

What happens to a tooth when a break occurs?

The lesions that develop vary depending on how much of the nerve is exposed. Many times a tooth fracture will occur that does not enter the pulp chamber and only the enamel or dentin is affected. Even so, trauma that caused the enamel and dentin to fracture may be sufficient to cause direct vascular damage and hemorrhage that can lead to inflammation and tissue destruction. Bacteria can enter the tooth through the exposed nerve causing problems ranging from internal inflammation to severe infection.

Avulsed tooth prior to procedure

Lower Canine Tooth Dislocation Due to Dog Fight

Before Procedure

Immediate care is necessary to save the tooth.

Avulsed tooth prior to procedure

Lower Canine Tooth Dislocation Due to Dog Fight

Before Procedure

Immediate care is necessary to save the tooth.

Avulsed tooth replaced in socket and sutured

Saved Lower Canine Tooth Dislocation

After Surgery

Dog with tongue out

Treatment of a Broken Tooth

Therapy decisions depend on which parts of the tooth are exposed. If the fracture involves only enamel, the treatment of choice is to smooth the sharp edges. Intraoral radiographs should be taken to get baseline images of the apex and to check for apical fractures The tooth should be re-radiographed at six and twelve months for evidence of periapical pathology.