Side of tooth broken (black arrow). Notice the swollen inflamed gum (green arrow)

Broken Teeth – Common Oral Injuries

There are many common injuries to the mouth. One of the most common is to fracture or break teeth. Premolar four of the maxilla (upper jaw), the largest tooth in the maxilla is the most frequent tooth to be broken. The biting pressure in that area of mouth is 400 pounds pressure per square inch ( in humans it is 100 pounds per square inch). As the dog bites with this tremedous pressure , it often can produce a slab fracture of the tooth. These fractures result in the tooth splitting with a side of the tooth breaking off and leaving exposed nerves and open endodonic canals (the chamber of the tooth that is filled with nerves and tooth’s blood supply). Small slab fractures may be treated by performing a root canal. However, often the tooth needs to be removed (extracted).

Common objects which cause these injuries are: deer antlers, pig ears, Nylabones, and rocks. Any hard object that does not indent or flex with chewing is liable to break teeth.

One of the saddest things with these injuries is that the dog shows no sign of pain. They do not cry or refuse to eat. They simply suffer in silence. These broken teeth are often found when a pet is having a health exam or during a routine dental cleaning.