What Should You Do If Your Dog Chipped a Tooth?

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My dog cracked his tooth


My dog cracked his tooth: Your dog’s health and well-being are undoubtedly among your top priorities. However, despite your best efforts, dental issues can still arise. One common problem that many dog owners face is a cracked tooth.


While it may not seem like a severe issue at first, a cracked tooth can lead to significant discomfort and potential health complications for your beloved pet. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention tips for dealing with a cracked tooth in dogs.


A cracked tooth in dogs can occur due to various reasons, including accidental trauma, chewing on hard objects, tooth decay, or simply as a result of aging. Just like humans, dogs can experience dental problems that require attention and treatment.


Understanding the causes of cracked teeth in dogs is crucial for preventing further damage and ensuring your furry friend’s continued comfort and health. Whether your dog is a playful puppy or a senior companion, being aware of the potential causes of cracked teeth can help you take proactive steps to protect their dental health.


Recognizing the symptoms of a cracked tooth in your dog is essential for prompt treatment and prevention of further complications. Dogs may exhibit signs such as changes in eating habits, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, or swelling and redness around the mouth.


Being vigilant and observing your dog’s behavior can help you detect any dental issues early on, allowing you to seek appropriate treatment from your veterinarian. In the following sections, we will explore in detail how to identify, treat, and prevent cracked teeth in dogs, ensuring your furry friend’s continued comfort and well-being.

My dog cracked his tooth



1. Understanding the Causes of Cracked Teeth in Dogs

Cracked teeth in dogs can occur due to various reasons, often resulting from accidental trauma, chewing on hard objects, tooth decay, or simply aging. Accidental trauma is one of the most common causes of cracked teeth in dogs. This can happen during playtime, when a dog may accidentally bump into something hard, or during a fall.


Similarly, dogs that chew on hard objects, such as rocks, hard toys, or bones, are also at risk of cracking their teeth. Additionally, tooth decay can weaken the structure of the tooth, making it more prone to cracking. As dogs age, their teeth may also become more brittle, increasing the likelihood of cracks and fractures.


Regular dental care and preventive measures can help reduce the risk of cracked teeth in dogs. Providing appropriate chew toys and treats, avoiding hard objects that can damage teeth, and maintaining good dental hygiene are essential in preventing dental issues.


Additionally, scheduling regular veterinary checkups can help identify dental problems early on, allowing for prompt treatment and preventing further complications. By understanding the causes of cracked teeth in dogs and taking preventive measures, dog owners can help ensure their furry friends maintain healthy and pain-free smiles for years to come. (My dog cracked his tooth)



My dog cracked his tooth

2. Recognizing the Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth

Recognizing the symptoms of a cracked tooth in your dog is crucial for ensuring prompt treatment and preventing further complications. One of the most common signs is a change in your dog’s eating habits.


If you notice that your dog is reluctant to eat or is only eating on one side of their mouth, it could indicate dental discomfort, possibly due to a cracked tooth. Additionally, if your dog suddenly starts drooling excessively or pawing at their mouth, it could be a sign of dental pain.


Swelling or redness around the mouth is another symptom to watch out for. If you notice any swelling or redness, especially on one side of your dog’s face, it could indicate an infection or inflammation caused by a cracked tooth. Keep an eye on your dog’s behavior and look for any signs of discomfort or distress.


If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s essential to take your dog to the veterinarian for a thorough examination. Early detection of a cracked tooth can prevent further complications and ensure your dog receives the necessary treatment to alleviate their pain and discomfort. (My dog cracked his tooth)



Read more: My dog chipped a tooth



3. Diagnosis: How Vets Identify a Cracked Tooth

Diagnosing a cracked tooth in dogs requires a combination of visual examination and sometimes more advanced techniques. During a routine veterinary check-up, your vet will perform a thorough examination of your dog’s mouth.


This involves looking for any signs of trauma, decay, or abnormalities in the teeth. Visual examination alone, however, may not always be sufficient to identify a cracked tooth, especially if the crack is small or located below the gum line.


In cases where a visual examination is inconclusive, your vet may recommend dental X-rays. X-rays can reveal cracks or fractures that are not visible to the naked eye. Additionally, your vet may use a dental explorer, a small tool used to probe the surface of the teeth.


This helps them detect any hidden cracks or areas of weakness. By combining these diagnostic methods, vets can accurately identify cracked teeth in dogs, allowing for appropriate treatment to be administered promptly. (My dog cracked his tooth)


Early detection of a cracked tooth is essential to prevent further complications and discomfort for your dog. If you notice any signs of dental issues or if your dog is displaying symptoms such as pawing at the mouth or changes in eating habits, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention promptly.


With a thorough examination and the use of diagnostic tools such as X-rays and dental explorers, vets can diagnose cracked teeth accurately and recommend the most suitable treatment for your furry friend’s needs.



4. Anatomy of the Tooth

The tooth is made up of these 4 distinct tissues: pulp, enamel, dentin, and cementum.  

The pulp is the innermost layer of the tooth, located in the pulp chamber and root canal.  The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue. The blood supply and nerves enter and exit through the apical delta, which is located at the root apices (tip).  (My dog cracked his tooth)


Enamel is the impermeable, outer layer of the crown of the tooth. It is mostly mineral (97%) and is the hardest tissue in the body. The enamel of dogs and cats is approximately 1mm thick which is much thinner than the enamel of human teeth. Enamel is produced during the development of the tooth. Once the tooth erupts, enamel is no longer produced.  Therefore, any enamel damaged or chipped cannot be replaced.


Cementum is a mineralized substance that covers the root of the tooth. Cementum seals the root from the surrounding tissue.  It also serves as the anchor point for the periodontal ligament to the tooth and holds it in the socket.  


Dentin is produced throughout the life of the tooth. It is the second hardest substance in the body and makes up the bulk of the structure of the tooth. Dentin has tubules that run from the inner pulp chamber/root canal to the outer surface of the dentin.


These tubules contain processes of odontoblasts and fluid, all of which function in a sensory capacity. Exposure of the surface of dentin results in a pain sensation.  The dentin is covered by enamel on the crown or cementum on the root. (My dog cracked his tooth)


5. Treatment of “Chipped” Fractured Teeth

Teeth with uncomplicated crown fractures are commonly treated in veterinary dentistry. It is important to identify these teeth as early as possible after the fracture.


In the case of an uncomplicated crown fracture, if the tooth is periodontally sound and has no evidence of infection of the pulp these “chips” may be treated with bonded sealant therapy.  This treatment includes smoothing the fracture site, making it less plaque retentive and sealing the tooth with a bonding agent to prevent the invasion of bacteria. 


If left untreated, the concern is that bacteria can travel through tubules of the exposed dentin to the pulp and infect the tooth.  Any tooth with an uncomplicated crown fracture that shows evidence of infection must not be treated through bonded sealant therapy. 


These teeth must be treated by either root canal therapy, which saves the tooth, or extraction. Similarly, teeth with complicated crown fractures are always treated by either extraction or root canal therapy. (My dog cracked his tooth)




6. Tips for Preventing Cracked Teeth in Dogs

Proper Dental Care: Regular dental care is crucial for preventing cracked teeth in dogs. This includes brushing your dog’s teeth regularly with a dog-specific toothpaste and toothbrush.


Additionally, providing dental chews and toys designed to promote dental health can help reduce plaque and tartar buildup, which can weaken the teeth and make them more susceptible to cracks.


Choosing the Right Toys and Treats: Not all toys and treats are created equal when it comes to your dog’s dental health. Avoid giving your dog hard toys or treats that can potentially damage their teeth. Instead, opt for toys made of softer materials that are gentle on their teeth.


Look for dental chews and treats that are specifically designed to promote dental health by reducing plaque and tartar buildup. (My dog cracked his tooth)


Regular Veterinary Checkups: Regular dental checkups with your veterinarian are essential for maintaining your dog’s dental health. Your veterinarian can identify any dental issues early on and recommend appropriate treatment to prevent further complications.


During a dental checkup, your veterinarian will examine your dog’s teeth and gums, perform a thorough cleaning if necessary, and recommend any additional dental care your dog may need.




My dog cracked his tooth


7. Types of chipped teeth in dogs and how to treat them

Minor Chips: Minor chips typically involve only the enamel and may not cause any pain or discomfort to the dog. Treatment for minor chips may not be necessary, but it’s essential to monitor the tooth for any signs of further damage.


Your veterinarian may recommend smoothing out the rough edges of the chip to prevent further irritation to the dog’s mouth. (My dog cracked his tooth)



Moderate Chips: Moderate chips involve damage to the enamel and possibly the dentin layer beneath. Dogs with moderate chips may experience some pain or sensitivity in the affected tooth.

Treatment for moderate chips may involve dental bonding, where a tooth-colored resin is applied to the chip to restore the tooth’s appearance and prevent further damage.



Severe Chips: Severe chips involve significant damage to the tooth, potentially exposing the sensitive pulp inside. Dogs with severe chips may experience intense pain, swelling, or infection.

Treatment for severe chips may include root canal therapy to remove the damaged pulp and protect the tooth’s structure. In some cases, tooth extraction may be necessary to prevent further pain and infection.


Regardless of the severity of the chip, it’s essential to seek veterinary care if you suspect your dog has a chipped tooth. Your veterinarian can assess the damage and recommend the most appropriate treatment for your dog’s specific needs.


Additionally, your veterinarian may recommend preventive measures to help reduce the risk of future dental injuries, such as avoiding hard toys and treats and maintaining good dental hygiene.


By seeking prompt veterinary care and following your veterinarian’s recommendations, you can help ensure that your dog receives the necessary treatment for a chipped tooth and maintains good dental health for years to come. (My dog cracked his tooth)




Read more: My Old Dog is Losing Weight




8. Cost of fixing a chipped tooth

The cost of fixing your dog’s chipped tooth can vary, the same as human dental work. Minor fractures and simple procedures will cost less. Dental bonding, for example, runs between $90-$300 per tooth.


An extraction will cost more, upwards of $500-$2,500. Root canals are the most complicated and expensive procedures, close to what a human would pay, $1,500-$3,000 for small- to medium-sized dogs, whereas a root canal in a large dog (specifically the canine tooth) can cost much more. (My dog cracked his tooth)



Cracked teeth in dogs can cause pain and discomfort, affecting their overall well-being. By understanding the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention tips discussed in this guide, dog owners can effectively manage their pet’s dental health and ensure a happy and healthy life for their furry companions.


Remember, early detection and prompt treatment are key to preventing complications associated with cracked teeth in dogs. (My dog cracked his tooth)




  1. What are the common causes of cracked teeth in dogs?

Accidental trauma, such as a fall or a collision

Chewing on hard objects like rocks, bones, or hard toys

Tooth decay or cavities

Aging and wear and tear on the teeth


  1. How can I tell if my dog has a cracked tooth?

Change in eating habits

Drooling excessively

Pawing at the mouth

Swelling or redness around the mouth


  1. Is a cracked tooth in dogs painful?

Yes, a cracked tooth can be painful for dogs, especially if the crack extends into the sensitive inner layers of the tooth.


  1. What should I do if I suspect my dog has a cracked tooth?

Take your dog to the veterinarian for a thorough examination.

Follow your vet’s recommendations for treatment.


  1. How will my veterinarian diagnose a cracked tooth in my dog?

Visual examination

Dental X-rays

Probing with a dental explorer


  1. Can a cracked tooth in a dog heal on its own?

No, a cracked tooth will not heal on its own and may worsen over time if left untreated.


  1. What are the treatment options for a cracked tooth in dogs?

Dental bonding

Root canal therapy

Tooth extraction


  1. How is dental bonding performed on a dog’s cracked tooth?

The veterinarian will apply a tooth-colored resin to the cracked tooth to restore its appearance and prevent further damage.


  1. What is root canal therapy for dogs with cracked teeth?

Root canal therapy involves removing the damaged pulp from the tooth and filling it with a dental material to protect its structure.


  1. When is tooth extraction necessary for a cracked tooth in dogs?

– Tooth extraction may be necessary if the crack is severe and the tooth cannot be saved with other treatments.


  1. Will my dog need anesthesia for dental treatment?

– Yes, most dental procedures for dogs require anesthesia to ensure their safety and comfort during the treatment.


  1. How long does it take for a cracked tooth in a dog to heal after treatment?

– The healing time depends on the severity of the crack and the chosen treatment method. Your veterinarian will provide specific instructions for post-treatment care.


  1. Are there any complications associated with cracked teeth in dogs?

– Yes, if left untreated, a cracked tooth can lead to infection, abscesses, and other dental problems.


  1. How can I prevent my dog from cracking his teeth?

– Provide appropriate toys and treats that are not too hard.

– Avoid giving your dog items like rocks, hard bones, or antlers to chew on.

– Maintain good dental hygiene by regularly brushing your dog’s teeth and scheduling dental check-ups with your veterinarian.


  1. Can cracked teeth in dogs be prevented?

– While it’s not always possible to prevent cracked teeth in dogs, you can reduce the risk by taking preventive measures like providing appropriate toys and treats, maintaining good dental hygiene, and scheduling regular veterinary check-ups.


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