Q: My dog was out playing and ran into a cement pot. He fell down and then got up and kept running and playing but I found a piece of his tooth next to the pot and when I looked in his mouth one of the little teeth in the front was bleeding. He didn’t act like it hurt him and he ate his dinner. Do I need to do anything about this?
A: Fractured teeth are actually fairly common in dogs and cats. Many times I find them on a routine examination and the owners have never noticed them.
The pet may not have noticeable signs of pain but generally the tooth is painful. When the tooth is probed the pet may cry, wince, or the jaw may chatter.
Dogs are very good at chewing on the other side of the mouth or just gulping their food. Sometimes a dog quits playing with its toys or looses his interest in chewing on chew toys.
When the tooth is treated and the pain goes away, many owners report that their dog is acting like a puppy again! Treated dogs often become more active and playful.
There are different options for treatment depending on the type of fracture and the tooth that was fractured. Your veterinarian will need to evaluate the tooth and your dog’s overall heath to assess what needs to be done next. A fractured tooth should be seen immediately and treatment options can be discussed. Dental X-rays are very important to determine the best treatment course.
The tooth may need to be extracted depending on the way it was fractured. Many times the tooth can be saved but it could require a root canal procedure or a vital pulpotomy with pulp capping. These are more specialized procedures and not all veterinarians are trained to perform them. Some veterinarians have special training in dental procedures and have the proper equipment and skills to do this kind of treatment.
Make sure that X-rays are taken before and after treatment as even fractures that appear simple can have tooth roots that may have been driven into a sinus cavity by the force of the impact when the accident happened. Other teeth in the mouth may also have fractures that are not always visible without an X-ray. You may need a referral to a veterinary dental specialist in your area.