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Home Bella Woof Your Dog’s Chipped or Broken Tooth

Your Dog’s Chipped or Broken Tooth

by Bella Woof

A chip or break that exposes a tooth’s pulp – the sensitive tissue that contains the tooth’s nerves and blood supply – will cause obvious discomfort. This calls for urgent care – not necessarily a trip to the after-hours emergency veterinary hospital, but not something that can be put off for weeks, either.

Your dog might exhibit one or more of the following signs of a broken tooth with exposed pulp:

  • Reacting to hot or cold temperatures (including drinking cold water) with pain
  • Avoiding chew toys
  • Declining to eat treats like hard biscuits
  • Refusing food altogether
  • Chewing on only one side or more carefully than usual
  • Drooling an abnormal amount for that dog
  • Pawing at their mouth
  • Shying away when the face is petted

These symptoms require a dental checkup, because left untreated, broken teeth with exposed pulp can become infected and lead to degeneration of the jawbone. A tooth with exposed nerves will usually be treated with extraction or a root canal. Vital pulp therapy may keep a recently fractured tooth alive if the patient is under 18 months of age.

Chipped teeth without symptoms

Not all chipped teeth crack or expose the pulp. Dogs might chip a tooth when catching a flying disc, running into something during high-speed play, or smacking into a dashboard when riding unsecured in a car that had to stop suddenly. Even if the chip is small, and your dog doesn’t display any signs of pain or discomfort, it’s a good idea to make a non-urgent appointment with your vet to take a look at the chip. The chip might need to be smoothed to keep from irritating your dog’s lips or tongue– and your vet stands the best chance at getting a good look to make sure the chip isn’t going to lead to a cracked tooth.

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