You Make The Diagnosis: A Dog’s Teeth

Pictured below is the  X-ray of 3 year old, female Boxer taken during a dental evaluation. She sometimes bled from her gums, especially after chewing on hard objects. Her physical examination was normal except for one problem – she was missing two of her lower incisors. Incisors are the small teeth between the large fangs or canine teeth. Normally, there are 6 incisors on the upper and lower jaws – 3 on the rights side and 3 on the left. Her family thought they fell out awhile ago. Study the image and then answer the following questions: 1) Identify the abnormalities found on this film? 2) Did the missing incisors fall out? 3) How is this condition treated?

Bailey Pre-extraction snip

Diagnosis: Fractured Incisors. Crowns (Part of teeth above gum line) are missing but roots are still present.

Fractured teeth are a common problem in dogs and cats. The crown of the tooth breaks off leaving the root still embedded in the periosteal bone. Anesthesia and dental X-rays are required to find this condition. These painful roots would have been missed if an anesthesia free dental was performed.

Bailey Pre-extraction snip outlined roots

Broken roots are extremely painful. They were removed, the bone was curetted to get rid of infection and the gingiva was sutured closed. Note on the post op film that the entire root has been extracted. It is important to remove the entire root, tip and all, to prevent infection and pain.

Bialey Post-extraction snip

This dog did very well after her procedure. She is backing to eating well, without any blood.



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.