Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing


Fractured Teeth in Dogs

If your dog chews on something too hard, or suffers a traumatic injury, they can wind up breaking one of their teeth. This can be a very painful experience for your pup, so knowing what to do is key. In this article, our Gainesville vets discuss fractured teeth in dogs and offer some advice.

Causes of Fractured Teeth in Dogs

Fractured teeth are frequent in dogs and can be caused by external trauma (for example, being hit by a car) or chewing on hard objects such as antlers, bones, or other hard, non-bending chew toys. The canine teeth (fangs) and the massive upper pointed cheek teeth in the back of the mouth are the most commonly broken in a dog.

How Fractured Teeth Impact Dogs

If your dog has a broken tooth, infected materials can fill the inside of the tooth. They will eventually trickle into the jaw through the holes in the tip of the tooth root. When the bacteria has made its way inside the root canal, the body's immune system, even with antibiotic treatment, is unable to eliminate the infection.

Bacteria escaping the apex of the tooth can spread over time, producing local dental pain every time the dog chews and infection in other parts of the body.

Symptoms of a Dog's Broken Tooth

A dog's tooth fracture can lead to a variety of health problems, not to mention the pain it can cause them. Indications that your dog has a broken tooth may include:

  • Chewing on one side
  • Dropping food from the mouth
  • 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

If your dog is showing any of the signs above, bring them to the vet for a thorough dental examination. If you're not sure if your pup has a dental problem, examine their teeth (if they allow you) to see if there is a fractured or chipped tooth your dog has sustained. There are six classifications of tooth fractures in dogs:

  • 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.
  • Complicated crown fracture: A fracture of the crown that exposes the pulp.
  • Uncomplicated crown-root fracture: A crown and root fracture that does not expose the pulp.
  • Complicated crown-root fracture: A crown and root fracture that exposes the pulp.
  • Root fracture: A fracture involving the root of the tooth.

Is a broken dog tooth an emergency?

For the most part, it is not a veterinary emergency if your dog has a fractured or broken tooth, however, it should be dealt with as soon as possible. Contact a vet and book an appointment to have your dog's tooth fracture examined and fixed to prevent your pup from experiencing further pain or discomfort.

However, if you think your dog is in an extreme amount of pain or their injury seems severe, don't hesitate to seek emergency veterinary assistance. It's better to be over-concerned than allow your pup to be in pain.

Treatment for Fractured Teeth in Dogs

Most broken teeth will require treatment to reduce the pain and restore your dog's use of the teeth. Ignoring the situation will result in the tooth being sensitive and painful, which every dog owner wants to avoid for their companion.

If the nerve of the tooth is exposed, there are usually two options - root canal therapy or extraction. If the nerve is not exposed, the tooth can be repaired without the need for root canal therapy.

Root Canal: An X-ray of the tooth assesses the surrounding bone and validates the root's integrity. The unhealthy tissue inside the root canal is removed during a root canal. To prevent further bacterial infection and save the tooth, instruments are used to clean, disinfect, and fill the root canal. The long-term outcomes of root canal therapy are generally excellent.

Vital Pulp Therapy: In younger dogs (under 18 months), vital pulp therapy may be used on freshly broken teeth. To eliminate surface microorganisms and inflammatory tissue, a layer of pulp is removed. To promote healing, a medicated dressing is applied to the newly exposed pulp. Teeth treated with this method may require root canal therapy in the future.

Tooth Extraction: The other option is to extract damaged teeth. However, most veterinarians attempt to avoid extracting cracked but otherwise healthy teeth. The removal of huge canine and chewing teeth requires oral surgery, similar to the removal of impacted wisdom teeth in human patients.


Tooth fractures are painful experiences for dogs and should not be taken lightly. At the first signs of a tooth injury, book an appointment for your dog at the earliest available time, and seek emergency care if you think it is necessary. If you aren't sure what to do, don't hesitate to contact our team for steps on what to do and how you can best help your canine companion.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please make an appointment with your vet to accurately diagnose your pet's condition.

Are you worried that your dog may have fractured a tooth? Contact our Gainesville vets to have your pup cared for.

New Patients Welcome

Browns Bridge Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Gainesville companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

Contact Us

Contact (770) 536-8831