Fractured/Pulp Exposed Teeth

Within the intricate anatomy of dogs’ and cats’ teeth lies a crucial soft tissue known as the pulp. The pulp is a specialized structure composed of various components, including blood vessels, cells responsible for creating tooth material, nerves, immune cells, and connective tissue. The vitality of a tooth relies on the health of its pulp, a balance that is generally maintained but can be disrupted under certain circumstances.

Causes of Fractured/Pulp-Exposed Teeth

Teeth subjected to forceful injuries, such as those from car accidents, incidents with sporting equipment, rock chewing, or even chewing on bones, are at risk of fracturing. In some cases, teeth may develop pulp exposure due to gradual wear and tear, gradually removing protective layers over the pulp.

Consequences of Pulp Exposure

When the internal pulp, the living tissue often referred to as the “nerve,” becomes exposed, it poses a significant threat to the tooth. Without timely intervention through a vital pulpotomy, the pulp undergoes irreversible pulpitis, leading to its death and subsequent necrosis. Once the pulp is dead, it becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, causing further complications.

Tooth Root Abscesses

Infected material within the damaged or fractured tooth eventually leads to an infection that the immune system cannot reach or eliminate. As the infection progresses, it may extend beyond the tooth, forming an abscess in the surrounding area.

Commonly Affected Teeth

The large upper carnassial teeth in dogs, crucial for gnawing, and the upper canines of cats, positioned prominently at the front of their mouths, are commonly affected by fractures leading to tooth root abscesses.

Treatment Options

1. Vital Pulpotomy

If the pulp has been recently exposed, a vital pulpotomy may be performed to preserve its vitality. This procedure involves protecting the exposed pulp with special fillings to maintain its health.

2. Removal of Dead Pulp

If the timing for a vital pulpotomy is not optimal, the dead pulp must be removed to address the abscess. This can be achieved through two primary methods:

  • Root Canal Therapy: Necrotic material is removed while preserving the hard parts of the tooth.
  • Extraction: The entire tooth, along with the dead pulp, is removed.

Considerations for Treatment

Each treatment option has its pros and cons, and our Veterinary Dentists are ready to discuss them with you. The goal is to tailor the approach to best suit the needs of both you and your pet, ensuring the most effective and compassionate care.