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Fractured Canine Tooth

Unfortunately, fractured teeth are common in dogs and cats.

Note the small dark circular area on the large canine tooth which is exposed root canal.

If a fracture does not expose the root canal, a restorative can be applied to protect the exposed dentin (the softer part of the tooth structure underneath the hard enamel). If the root canal is exposed, then root canal therapy is necessary to salvage the tooth. There are a number of factors to consider to determine if an injured tooth is a candidate for this type of repair. In this young patient, the tooth was not fully formed which makes the hope for successful salvage much less likely. The fracture plane also extended below the gum line in this case which is an indication for extraction. So, in this case, the tooth had to be extracted.

The crown of the tooth ( what is above the gum line) is much smaller than the root (seen below the q-tip).

Because the roots are very large in dogs and cats, we cannot just ‘pull’ a tooth. A fractured tooth must be removed by oral surgical techniques that require incising the gum to expose the bone around the root and carefully removing some of the bone supporting the tooth to allow safe extraction.
Chewing bones or very hard chew toys are a common cause for dental fractures. Ask us about safe chew toys and other measures that can be taken to protect the health of your pet’s teeth. Dogs and cats do well even after multiple extractions but it is always preferable to practice preventive care to keep teeth healthy as long as possible.
Here’s to healthy teeth for our pets!
Dr. Tom Honey and everyone at GVH.


Garibaldi Veterinary Hospital