You Make The Diagnosis: Dog With Tooth Problem

During every exam, I always analyze the teeth and look for signs of periodontal disease, malocclusion, masses or other dental problems. When I opened this dog’s lips, the left side of his mouth was normal but the right side had a serious problem. Study the image and answer the following questions: Which tooth is abnormal? What is wrong with the tooth? Is it in the correct position?

Enamel Defect

Diagnosis: 1) Upper right canine tooth 2) Enamel defect 3) No, it is out of alignment.

When I examined this dog’s mouth, I noticed the upper right canine tooth or fang was half the size of the left. It also had a defect in the enamel at the tip. (See the discolored area.)  Possible causes include trauma, enamel hypoplasia, enamel hypomineralization and enamel dysplasia. Since all the other teeth are normal, I think this tooth suffered some sort of traumatic event that pushed it up, backward and chipped the enamel. Next step, x-ray the tooth to see if there are any additional problems. If the tooth is healthy, the defect could be patched with composite although it often cracks off on the canine tooth. Other options include prosthodontics therapy or crown replacement like the dog had in the picture below.

Dental Implant Snip 2015


Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.