Both dogs and cats may suffer from fractured teeth which is often the result of trauma. Trauma may be something dramatic such as being hit by a motor vehicle, but may also be as simple as chewing on something such as a hard bone. The location of the fracture will determine the most appropriate treatment option and veterinary advice should always be sought.
Small fractures can be described as a chip and may not require treatment. They should only affect the surface of the tooth (the enamel) and will present as a small defect. This defect will promote colonisation of bacteria and subsequent tarter build up however pain shouldn’t be a problem and monitoring is reasonable.
Larger fractures may expose the dentine and even the pulp cavity which can be acutely painful. Bacteria will then migrate into the central pulp cavity of the tooth and result in death of this living tissue. Subsequent death of the tooth and severe pain will result.
In many cases anaesthesia and radiographs will be required to assess the extent of damage to a tooth. In general practice veterinary clinics, the treatment for damaged teeth is extraction. Referral is an option for more advanced procedures such as capping or a root canal.
It is important to have any fractured teeth assessed and to discuss your options with your veterinarian.