This purplish discolouration occurs when there is trauma to the tooth that uses some bleeding from the blood vessel in the tooth into the surrounding tooth tissue. Sometimes this can then cause ongoing information inside the tooth which causes pain for the animal. Because of this, it was recommended that Kasey come in to have dental x-rays performed to see if the tooth needed to be removed.
We got Kasey back to the clinic a week later and she had a full mouth dental x-ray performed. Luckily the x-rays showed that that tooth was OK and that there was no ongoing inflammation so it didn’t need to be removed. However, we did find that on the other side of her mouth where Kasey had a gap between her teeth (picture with a red circle showing the gap), on the x-rays of this side we found that there were 2 roots left from the tooth that shouldn't have been there and that the crown of the tooth had fractured off at some point. (pic of x-ray with blue dots indicating the roots). These roots then needed to be surgically extracted as they still have a nerve within them and the root furthest back in the mouth had some infection around it festering away.
1 week later Kasey was back to visit and had healed beautifully after her surgery.
Note - Accidents like this can happen at any time and may not be a result of not looking after your pet's teeth. Kasey’s owner cleans her teeth every day.
This case highlights the benefits of dental x-rays in animals and why they are important. A recent study showed that in dogs 28% of dental disease was only found on x-rays and in cats that number increased to 47%. This means when your pet comes in for a dental procedure we may well find more disease than we were expecting and your animal may need more work to get their mouth healthy and pain-free again.
Dr Nikki Frost BSc BVSc MANZCVS (Medicine of Cats)