You Make the Diagnosis: Dental Problem in a Dog

Dental problems are common in dogs and cats. Pictured below is the L side of the maxilla, upper jaw, of a dog. Study the image and then answer the following questions: 1) What is wrong with this dog’s mouth? 2) Is is painful? 3) What is the best treatment for the problem?

DIAGNOSIS: Fractured incisor #203 and wearing of the crowns

The crown of the upper left third incisor (203) is missing leaving a small amount of the neck of the tooth and the root. The crown is the portion of the tooth that is visible above the gum line. A horse kicked this dog in the mouth causing the fracture. Most of the crown fell out exposing the neck and root of the tooth. The center blackened area is the dead pulp cavity of the tooth. This is where the nerves and blood vessels are found. Normally, this area is white. The tooth slowly died causing the abnormal tan color. It was very painful for this dog! This dog also has worn down his other crowns (teeth) from chewing. Besides playing with horses, he liked to chew rocks. The best treatment at this time is extraction of the remaining part of the tooth. Pictured below is the extraction site after the extraction. The area has been closed with a gingival flap that is held in place with sutures. This dog went home on antibiotics, pain relievers and a soft diet for two weeks. He made a complete recovery! Hopefully, he will stay away from the horses and rocks in the future.

Extraction siteĀ  Infected incisor root