Dogs can fracture a tooth just like humans can, but your dog can't tell you what's happened, so it's important to check their teeth regularly for signs of damage. Chewing on sticks and bones can cause a tooth fracture, but a fracture can also be caused by trauma, such as a collision with another dog or being involved in an accident. In addition to damaging the protective enamel, when your dog sustains a tooth fracture, bacteria can enter the fracture line and cause a painful infection, which could lead to an abscess developing and damaging the root of the tooth.
Read on to learn about the signs of a tooth fracture and how your dentist will treat this problem.
Signs of a Tooth Fracture
Some tooth fractures are quite prominent and you will clearly see the crack along the affected tooth when cleaning your dog's teeth. However, if a back tooth is fractured or the fracture crack is very fine, it may be difficult for you to spot, but there are other signs of a tooth fracture to be on the lookout for. A dog with a fractured tooth will often have swelling and redness on the gum at the site of the tooth and there may be blood on the tooth, which is seeping through the fracture crack from the soft pulp in the centre of the tooth. It's common for dogs to paw at their mouth if they experience a tooth fracture. Your dog may also stop eating due to pain and become withdrawn or irritable of you try to pet them.
How to Treat a Tooth Fracture
Your dog will typically need an X-ray to confirm the tooth is fractured and allow your vet to see the extent of the damage, if any, to the tooth root. The gum tissue may also be swabbed to determine if a bacterial infection is present. This will help your vet to develop a treatment plan that's right for your dog.
A fine fracture may only require the application of a sealant to prevent an infection developing, while a fracture that has caused damage to the biting surface of our dog's tooth may need to be repaired with a dental crown. When an infection is present, your dog's tooth will need to be cleaned on the inside. This means they will need to have root canal treatment to remove any pus and disinfect the tooth pulp before the tooth is repaired with sealant. If your dog's tooth has a large, deep fracture, it may be necessary to extract the tooth. This may sound extreme, but your dog will experience immediate relief from any pain and discomfort the fracture is causing them.
A tooth fracture should be treated as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection, so speak to your vet right away if you have any concerns about your dog's oral health. They can schedule a dog dental appointment to address your concerns.