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Top Five Ways Dogs Fracture Their Teeth

June 9, 2010

8-Year-Old German Shepherd Fractures Critical Tooth

Mia is an 8-year-old female spayed German Shepherd Dog. Mia is gentle and sweet and kind. She leaves her food for the other dogs, and backs away to share her toys with friends’ dogs who come over to play. She has soft, wavy chestnut-brown and honey tan fur and soft brown eyes, with long curved black eyelashes.

Mia also chews like a demon dog from you-know-where!

“Doc, how do Mia’s teeth look?” asked her mom.

“They would be perfect, except for the broken carnassial (pronounced car-na-see-ul) tooth,” said Doc Truli.

“I don’t know what you just said, but I don’t like the sound of that,” said Mia’s mom.

Mia broke the substantial left maxillary carnassial, #108, Upper Left 4th Premolar tooth. (It has lots of names.)  This carnassial tooth is one of the 8 most important teeth in the mouth.  What are “important” teeth (it sounds discourteous to the other teeth, doesn’t it?).  Read about important teeth in Bennie’s Story of how he had 12 teeth removed!

Top Five Common Ways to Break Dogs’ Teeth

  1. Hard Bones
  2. Ice Cubes
  3. Nylabones
  4. Rocks
  5. Accidents (Fighting, Hit by car)

“Broken how bad?” asked mom.

“Broken, we can’t do a root canal or cap the tooth. Broken. Dead. Kaput. Fin. Basta!” said Doc Truli. “That tooth is dead and must be removed from the mouth.”

When a Tooth has to Go…

German Shepherd Dog Undergoes Anesthesia for Carnassial Tooth Extraction

Mia intubated for her exodontia procedure

Mia underwent a thorough dental cleaning and radiographic (x-ray) evaluation under anesthesia. Her teeth were in perfect condition, except for the broken culprit tooth. That tooth was fractured in half. The back half was partly missing, with the nerves exposed, and the remaining enamel fractured into 40 pieces during the exodontia procedure.

The front half of the tooth looked good. But it too, fractured into many little slivers of diseased, useless enamel and dentin. A while later, and several post-extraction x-rays later, the tooth was all out of the mouth!

broken upper fourth premolar in a dog

missing back half of the upper fourth premolar

“We had to take many x-rays to confirm that every bit of the tooth was gone,”explained the Doc.

Absorbable stitches at the gingival flap site of the fourth premolar exodontia

Better no tooth than a Diseased Tooth!

“That’s great,” said Mia’s mom. She went on to explain,”Years and years ago, I had a dog with a rotten tooth. The vet removed the tooth, but they left a piece in there. That piece became an abscess and she needed another surgery to clean out the infection. I’m so happy you have the x-rays to be certain the procedure is done right the first time,” said Mia’s mom.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” agreed Doc Truli.

Just two days after surgery, Mia was up and running with her dog friends, eating freely, and feeling so much better!

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