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What is Discolored Teeth?

When a tooth fractures, the tissue inside may bleed, and bacteria can settle into the newly created space. This combination of bleeding and inflammation leads to tooth discoloration and decay. Though the discoloration itself is not harmful to your dog, it can be an indicator of a non-vital, or dead, tooth, which will need to be treated to alleviate pain and to prevent further complications.

Discolored teeth most commonly occur following trauma, which may result in a tooth fracture. When the tissue that makes up the tooth's pulp bleeds, it leads to discoloration that may change from pink to brown or gray over time. Bacteria in the tooth can cause pain and may spread an infection to the bone, which is why a discolored tooth should be promptly treated even if your dog is not showing symptoms.

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Discolored Teeth Average Cost

From 51 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Discolored Teeth in Dogs

A discolored tooth is characterized by abnormal coloration, which can range from pink or purple to tan or gray. A dog with a discolored tooth may be asymptomatic or may show signs related to oral discomforts, such as drooling or reluctance to eat. Because dogs often do not show pain, it is important that you bring your dog to the veterinarian as soon as you notice discoloration in a tooth, even if your dog is asymptomatic.

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Causes of Discolored Teeth in Dogs

When a tooth is fractured, whether because your dog was chewing too hard or because of blunt trauma, the tissue inside may be damaged. The initial pink coloration is an indication that the pulp is bleeding. There is a small possibility that this will resolve on its own, but typically the inflamed pulp restricts blood flow in the tooth, leading to purple, brown, or gray coloration. If untreated, this can lead to the death of the tooth and infection in the bone.

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Diagnosis of Discolored Teeth in Dogs

Discolored teeth are typically detectable through a visual examination. Dental radiographs may help determine the source of the discoloration and viability of the root though they do not reliably show signs of disease in the tooth's pulp. Since a decaying tooth can lead to further complications or pain if left untreated, most veterinarians recommend treatment even if the diagnosis cannot be confirmed.

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Treatment of Discolored Teeth in Dogs

There are two types of treatment for discolored teeth: endodontic therapy and surgical extraction.

Endodontic Therapy

Endodontic therapy, otherwise known as a root canal, involves removing the damaged pulpal tissue. Once the tooth has been cleaned and disinfected, it can be filled with material to prevent bacteria from re-entering the canal. This is a less invasive procedure than surgical extraction and allows the dog to keep the tooth, and it has a high rate of success. After the tooth has been refilled, it can be bleached to match the color of the other teeth for aesthetic purposes.

Surgical Extraction

In cases where a root canal is not an option, the tooth may be extracted entirely. This is not typically recommended, however, as a decayed tooth requires major surgery for full removal. The roots of a dog's teeth often go deep into the bone and may be located near nerves or major blood vessels, making surgery more complicated and more painful for the dog.

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Recovery of Discolored Teeth in Dogs

Your dog should recover quickly from endodontic therapy though the healing process may take longer following a surgical extraction. As with any surgery, it's important to provide your dog with a quiet place to rest during this time and provide him or her with softened food. This both helps with any discomfort and prevents your dog from accidentally disrupting any sutures. If the veterinarian prescribed antibiotics following surgery, administer the full course according to instructions.

You may need to bring the dog back to the veterinarian's office for follow-up exams. Depending on the success of the endodontic therapy, X-rays may be needed to confirm that the canal is entirely filled and to ensure that the area around the tooth root is not deteriorating.

Though fractured teeth are common in dogs of all breeds and ages, it is possible to help prevent them. Exercise or train your dog every day, tiring him or her out and reducing the urge to chew. If your dog is a big chewer despite this, talk to the veterinarian about recommended toys that are easier on the teeth.

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Discolored Teeth Average Cost

From 51 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$500

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Discolored Teeth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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German Shepherd

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Blood Urination

I was wondering how long it will take antibiotic work for UTI in my dog!? . Its been a 6days now his on antibiotic but he still bleeding when urine, His vet said if his not ok by the next week bring him in for check again. But I need 2nd opinion. Thanks alot.

July 28, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. 6 days into treatment, the bleeding should have stopped if it was due to an infection, I would think. At this point, it would probably be best to have a follow up with your veterinarian, and they may want to take an x-ray to make sure that there are no bladder stones. I hope that everything goes well for your dog and that he feels better soon.

July 28, 2020

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Charlie

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German Shepherd and Siberian husky

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4 Months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

My dogs tooth is a little chipped on the bottom(I think from playing so hard) and it’s starting to turn like grey and the gums around it aren’t looking very good either, what should I do?

July 6, 2018

Charlie's Owner

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0 Recommendations

By the age three to five months we would normally expect the permanent incisors and canines to have erupted. After oral trauma which results in a tooth being chipped, it is possible that the tooth may die which could account for the change in colour; without examining Charlie’s mouth I cannot confirm that this is the case and would recommend that you visit your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side and to remove the tooth is necessary. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/tooth-eruption-and-exfoliation-dogs-and-cats

July 7, 2018

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Discolored Teeth Average Cost

From 51 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$500

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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