What if my dog or cat has a broken tooth?

If you can see that your pet’s tooth is actively bleeding, this means that the pulp has been exposed. The pulp is where the blood supply and nerves are located, making is a painful condition, but depending on the individual pet they may or may not show signs of being bothered by this.

If you notice a distinct black dot on the crown of a fractured tooth it may have been pulp exposed in the past and now the pulp could be dead.

Taking a wait and see approach to pulp exposed pet teeth is not recommended. It could mean that your pet is dealing with a chronic infection and painful condition and you are sometimes unaware, as pets do not tend to stop eating or show obvious signs of a problem until the problem become quite serious. Pets usually have quite a strong food drive and do not want to show signs of illness, so do not be mistaken into thinking your pet has no pain from the fracture. Your pet feels a similar level of pain to what you would if your tooth was broken and exposed, so it is important to seek immediate treatment for them.

If you see the break actually happen or know when the break occurred a vital pulp therapy may be an option to treat the tooth, but there is a very short window for this treatment to be effective, so you should immediately contact a veterinary dentist.

Root canal therapies or extractions are the two treatment options for teeth with old fractures and pulp exposure. Once the pulp is exposed it is a matter of time before the tooth will become infected, then the tooth will die and eventually a painful abscess with develop around the root.