Lilly the 3-year-old Cavalier came to see Dr Nikki at our Pukekohe clinic as her owner picked up that she had broken her tooth. We call this type of break a slab fracture and it is commonly seen with dogs who bite down on hard objects such as bones or stones on their dog chewing teeth at the back of their mouths. In Lilly's case, it was a hard plastic toy that she crunched down on.
These fractures create a few different problems:
- The loose piece of tooth moves when trying to chew causing pain when it is pushed into the gum.
- The fracture often extends into the nerve cavity causing the nerve to be exposed and cause pain.
- Bacteria can get into the exposed nerve cavity and travel up the tooth top from a tooth root abscess. This commonly presents as a swelling below the eye.
- The protective shiny enamel is removed from the tooth surface, making it easier for bacteria and tartar to adhere to the tooth so these teeth if left commonly have a large amount of tartar buildup.
Luckily Lilly's owner noticed the broken tooth soon after she had broken it so we were able to remove it before it caused Lilly too much trouble.
Nikki Frost BSc BVSc MANZCVS (Medicine of Cats)