Fractured teeth are common in cats, and can be caused by fights, or chewing on hard objects. Today, the San Diego Bay Animal Hospital vets will explain fractured teeth in cats.
Fractured Teeth In Cats
Your cat can chip off the enamel (hard mineralized surface of teeth) and dentin (bony tissue beneath the enamel) and other times the tooth is so fractured that the nerve is exposed to the outside.
When the enamel is fractured exposing the dentin, the affected tooth becomes sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure. In cats, the enamel is relatively thin, and even a chip fracture needs attention.
There are six common tooth fracture classifications in cats:
- Enamel fracture - A fracture with loss of crown substance confined to the enamel.
- Uncomplicated crown fracture - A fracture of the crown that does not expose the pulp (soft tissue forming the inner structure of the tooth and containing nerves and blood vessels).
- Complicated crown fracture - A fracture of the crown exposes the pulp.
- Uncomplicated crown-root fracture - A fracture of the crown and root that does not expose the pulp.
- Complicated crown-root fracture - A fracture of the crown and root exposes the pulp.
- Root fracture - A fracture involving the root.
Signs of a Fractured Tooth
It is important to know the signs of a fractured tooth because your cat may be in pain and will need to see a San Diego Bay Animal Hospital vet.
Signs to look for include:
- Chewing on one side of its mouth
- Dropping food when eating
- Excessive drooling
- Grinding of teeth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Facial swelling
- Lymph node enlargement
- Shying away when the face is petted
- Refusing to eat hard food
- Refusing to chew on hard treats or toys
Treatment Options For a Fractured Tooth
There are a few different treatment options available when your cat fractures a tooth. Treatment may include root canal therapy, vital pulp therapy, or extraction.
Root canal - removal of the diseased pulp tissue inside the tooth.
Vital Pulp Therapy - may be performed on recently fractured teeth in younger cats (under 18 months of age). This treatment keeps the tooth alive. In vital pulp therapy, a layer of the pulp is removed to remove surface bacteria and inflamed tissue.
Extractions - removal of the tooth completely.