Tooth Fracture in Dogs

Tooth Fracture in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Most common symptoms

Bleeding / Broken tooth / Pain

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Rated as moderate conditon

9 Veterinary Answers

Most common symptoms

Bleeding / Broken tooth / Pain

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Tooth Fracture in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What is Tooth Fracture?

Tooth fracture in dogs is most commonly caused by some kind of trauma (such as being hit by a car or other object to the mouth) or by chewing on something hard. While it’s possible for any tooth to fracture, the canine teeth (fangs) and upper fourth premolar (large tooth in the back) are most commonly fractured in dogs. While a tooth fracture may seem like it can be left alone, it’s important to treat it to avoid infection that can then spread to vital bodily organs.

Tooth fracture in dogs occurs when enough pressure is exerted onto the tooth to break it. This usually occurs as the result of trauma or biting too hard. The canines and upper fourth premolars are the most commonly fractured teeth. Fractured teeth can be detected by visually finding the fracture or noticing pain, bleeding, or infection near the site of the fractured tooth. Treatment includes root canal, vital pulpotomy, and extraction.

Symptoms of Tooth Fracture in Dogs

The most prominent symptom in tooth fracture is the fractured tooth itself. However, depending on the location of the tooth, this may not be something that you can easily see. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain, especially if the pulp (pink tissue beneath the tooth) of the tooth is exposed
  • Formation of a tooth abscess (called a carnassial abscess, most common in fractures of the fourth premolar)
  • Infection of the fractured tooth
  • Bleeding near the fractured tooth
Types

Fractures can occur to any tooth in a dog’s mouth though the canine teeth (fangs) and upper fourth premolar (large tooth in the back of the mouth) are most commonly fractured in dogs. There aren’t specific types of fractures, though a fracture can be accessed by severity.

  • The best-case scenario for a fracture is a minor fracture in which the pulp is not exposed. There will be less pain for the pet and less risk, but the fracture should still be treated before it becomes worse.
  • If the pulp is exposed, the pet will likely be in a lot of pain. An exposed pulp will cause the formation of a carnassial abscess, in which an abscess at the root tips breaks through the skin.
  • In addition to the exposing of the pulp, it’s possible that a fracture will result in the tooth losing the crown, in which case it may need to be restored.

Causes of Tooth Fracture in Dogs

Tooth fractures are caused by some kind of pressure being forced onto the tooth, causing it to break. Most common fractures are caused by traumatic injuries, such as being hit by a car or otherwise being struck with something in the face and mouth region, or biting down on something hard, like a thick bone.

Diagnosis of Tooth Fracture in Dogs

The first step in diagnosis is recognizing the symptoms as being indicative of a fractured tooth. Once you’ve gone to the veterinarian, a simple examination of the mouth will reveal the fracture in the tooth and the location. Once the fracture has been identified, further inspection can reveal the severity of the fractured tooth and from there a course of treatment can be determined. The sooner that a fractured tooth is discovered and treated, the better the chances of returning to needed functionality.

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Treatment of Tooth Fracture in Dogs

There are three courses of treatment for a fractured tooth:

  • Root canal therapy

    : This is the best treatment option for a tooth that is otherwise healthy (no disease, root fracture, etc.). This treatment option removes the infected pulp and fills the root canals with mendicants to prevent future infection. For dogs, this is most commonly used on canines, upper fourth premolars, and lower first molars, though it can be completed for any fractured tooth.

  • Vital pulpotomy

    : This treatment is completed if the fracture is fresh and has not become severely infected. This is commonly used on fractures of the teeth of young dogs (less than 18 months of age).

  • Extraction

    : This treatment option depends largely on the tooth, severity of the fracture, and any other present diseases. This is the last option for fractures of the canines, upper fourth premolars, and lower first premolars. This treatment is typically avoided if possible for a few reasons: it is very painful, and not simple, especially in canines; additionally, an extraction completely removes functionality of the tooth, which can be very important for chewing (especially if it is one of the three types mentioned previously).

Recovery of Tooth Fracture in Dogs

Recovery and management will depend partly on the course of treatment administered. There will be a period of recovery, and potential post-surgery complications will need to be monitored. You’ll likely be given instructions for care and cleaning of the affected tooth and surrounding area, as to avoid infection.

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Tooth Fracture Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$850

Tooth Fracture Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Sadie

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Chihuahua

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4 Years

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Shaking
Broken Tooth
Pawing At Mouth
Pink Tooth

My four year old Chihuahua looks like see lost a tooth next to her top canine it looks pink and like the tooth broke she keeps pawing at the tooth I’m worried and can’t afford to take her to the vet what do I do

June 24, 2018

Sadie's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Sadie is pawing at her mouth and it looks like the tooth is broken and pink, there is not a lot that you can do from home, unfortunately. That tooth seems to be bothering her, and she should probably be seen by a veterinarian to have it looked at. Many clinics do offer free or reduced first office visits that would allow them to see the tooth and see if any treatment is needed, or there may be a low cost clinic in your area that would be able to look at her. Many OTC pain medications are toxic to dogs, so it would be best to have her seen and a safe pain medication given if needed.

June 24, 2018

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Jax

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Boxer Mix

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2 Years

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Exposed Pulp, Fractured Tooth

My two year old boxer mix broke his left canine tooth over a month ago. The pulp is exposed and it looked pink for a while and is now black. No bleeding occurred at the time of fracture and not at all since then. He has showed no sign of pain and has been playing and eating like normal, even chewing his toys on the affected side. I would say that the tooth is not very discolored either, maybe slightly yellow. I have been inspecting it everyday and cleaning his teeth like normal as well. I know that this injury could turn into an infection but I have not noticed any unusual symptoms since the injury. I have waited this long also because I do not want to put him through treatment/stress that is not necessary. Should I just keep an eye on it like I have been? Or reach out to a vet? I think I am just reaching out because I am happy but surprised no symptoms have come up after this period of time. I want to do the best thing I can for my dog! Thanks!!

June 11, 2018

Jax's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If the pulp cavity was exposed at the time of the tooth break, the tooth may need to come out. It depends a lot on the point of the tooth where it was broken, and it may not need to be removed. It would be a good idea to have him seen by a veterinarian to make sure that the tooth is okay, and they can give you recommendations for long term care.

June 11, 2018

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Dylan

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Terrier mix

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13 Years

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Mild condition

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1 found helpful

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Mild condition

Has Symptoms

None

My 13 yo terrier had a dental done and the vet told me he has 2 plate fractures but the teeth were snug in their sockets so no extractions were needed. What is a plate fracture and is treatment needed?

April 2, 2018

Dylan's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

A plate fracture is a fracture of the bone holding the side of the tooth on the side of the tongue, small fractures may occur due to trauma or tooth extraction; treatment is on a case by case basis but if your Veterinarian isn’t concerned I would follow any instructions given and keep an eye in Dylan. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

April 2, 2018

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Bentley

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Labrabull

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5 Years

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Moderate condition

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1 found helpful

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Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

Wimpers

My dog is 5 years old. A vet just noticed a carnassial slab fracture (upper right side). I was given the option to extract with xrays or proceed without xrays. I was also told a root canal might be an alternative. It is unknown when the fracture occurred. What is the best way to proceed? FYI he had an ACL replacement 2 months ago, is it too soon to undergo anesthesia?

March 19, 2018

Bentley's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

I’m always interest in saving teeth if possible so my go to recommendation would be to have the x-rays done and then have a decision done with your Veterinarian; however the easiest and more straightforward method would be to extract the tooth. Each tooth fracture is different so this should be discuss more with your Veterinarian, but x-rays would be useful regardless of whether you extract or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

March 19, 2018

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cloud

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American Eskimo

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12 Weeks

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Broken Tooth

My 12 week old puppy broke a canine, you can see the pulp but he isnt bleeding and doesnt appear to be in any pain as he is eating and playing as usual, what should i do?

Aug. 30, 2017

cloud 's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

Permanent canines erupt at around 12 - 16 weeks of age; any damage to a permanent canine should be seen by your Veterinarian to determine if the tooth should be removed, filled or restored. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 30, 2017

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kimba

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Siberian Husky

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12 Weeks

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Fair condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Head Tilt
Yelping
Whining

my 12 week old husky broke his tooth the other day now twice he has started yelping and tipping his head to the side he will be going to the vet today but after about 1 minute of yelping he wants to cuddle and sleep he will not play

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Outlaw

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Labrador Retriever

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13 Months

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Mild condition

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Broken Tooth

Outlaw is my 13 month old lab and he was just giving me a toy and I noticed his left lower canine was missing about the top 20 pct he must have broken it but I’m not sure when. We play a lot of ball and frisbee he tries to catch a ball which worries me so I lean toward frisbee.

Tooth Fracture Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$850

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