Tooth Fractures in Dogs and CatsAccidents happen! Unfortunately, a dog or cat can break a tooth quite easily. If this happens to your pet, it’s important to have a vet assess the tooth as soon as possible. Here’s why!FirstVet is the #1 online video veterinary service.FirstVet offers video calls with experienced veterinarians for just $35. You can get a consultation within minutes by downloading the FirstVet app for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Over 500,000 users trust FirstVet to care for their animals. Rating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1300 reviewsRating: 4.9 - more than 1600 reviews Download app What happens when a tooth is broken?The outer portion of the tooth is the white enamel we all brush daily and try to keep clean. Underneath, there is a layer of dentin and then the pulp chamber, which contains the tooth root.When fractures occur, the affected portion of the tooth’s surface becomes rough, and this can cause a faster buildup of tartar than the normally smooth surface of the enamel.For example, a “slab fracture” is when a piece of the side of the tooth chips off. But more concerning than that is if the fracture extends into the pulp cavity, causing nerve pain and exposing the tooth root to further infection and potentially a tooth root abscess or other complications.Causes of Tooth Fractures in Dogs and CatsChewing on hard objects, bones, antlers, rocks (mostly dogs)Accidentally hitting their face on a hard surface when jumping down from a height (mostly cats)Dental disease that weakens the tooth and compromises its stability and integrity, predisposing it to being fractured more easilyClinical Signs of Broken Teeth in PetsNo signs if mild, may not even be noticed by ownersPain - most commonly exhibited as the following symptoms:Dropping foodNot chewing properlyAvoiding chewing on one side of the mouthNot wanting to eat hard food, chew on hard toys/bonesNot wanting to eat at allExcessive droolingBlood around the mouth or bloody salivaBad breathSwelling under eye or around jaw (may indicate a tooth root abscess)How are Broken Teeth Diagnosed in Dogs and Cats?Oral exam by a vet (much more thorough under general anesthesia)Dental x-rays (performed under general anesthesia)Skull x-rays (may be helpful, but not as diagnostic as dental x-rays)Treatment of Fractured Teeth in PetsExtraction (under general anesthesia):If the fracture extends into the pulp cavity, the tooth should be removed to prevent pain, infection, abscesses, and other complications.Board-certified veterinary dentists can fill a tooth by performing a root canal or similar procedure, instead of removing it, just like in human dentistry.Pain medication (such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain medication)AntibioticsSoft foodHow to Prevent Broken Teeth in Dogs and CatsBrushing your pets’ teeth can help prevent tartar and calculus buildup, dental disease, fractures of unhealthy teeth, and tooth root abscesses. Veterinary dentists advise brushing your pets’ teeth twice daily. For helpful tips on brushing your pet's teeth, check out these articles:Brushing Your Cat's Teeth: Step-by-Step InstructionsBrushing Your Dog's Teeth: Step-by-Step InstructionsDental prophylaxis (scaling and polishing of the teeth) - helps prevent dental disease just as it does in humans. Often performed every few years in many pets.Do not give your dog hard bones or antlers to chew on. These do NOTHING to help the teeth remain clean and can cause fractures, pain, and even obstruction and other gastrointestinal complications if large chunks are swallowed.For information on veterinary-approved dental products and treats visit the Veterinary Oral Health Council website.Read more:Everything You Need to Know About Your Cat’s Dental HealthEverything You Need to Know About Your Dog’s Dental HealthHave more questions about your pet’s dental health?Schedule a video consult to speak to one of our vets.