Similar to humans, cats can experience painful teeth fractures that require attention. In this blog, our vets at South Lebanon will discuss the primary reason for tooth fractures in cats.
How do Cats Break their Teeth?
It's quite common for cats to experience fractures in their longest tooth, also known as the canine or "fang". While this condition may not necessarily pose a serious threat or cause discomfort to the feline, it's crucial to seek treatment if the tooth pulp - the living tissue located at the center of the tooth - is damaged. Otherwise, the fracture could lead to more severe dental issues such as bacterial infections or endodontic disease.
What are the Signs of a Fractured Tooth in a Cat?
Some indicators to watch out for are:
- Chewing on one side
- Dropping food from the mouth when eating
- Excessive drooling
- Grinding of teeth
- Pawing at the mouth
- Facial swelling
- Lymph node enlargement325
- Shying away when the face is petted
- Refusing to eat hard food
- Refusing to chew on hard treats or toys
If you think your cat's tooth is fractured, but you don't see any signs of discomfort, the tooth pulp may have already died. This means that your cat's immune system has successfully prevented any infections from occurring, which can mask any symptoms. It can take weeks or even months for damaged tooth pulp to die, and your cat may not exhibit any symptoms during this period.
If your cat has a fractured tooth, it's important to bring them to the veterinarian right away. Cats have a tendency to conceal their symptoms, so it's crucial to seek professional assistance. If your cat's tooth is bleeding, it's imperative to take them to urgent care without delay, as their dental pulp may have been injured.
Diagnosis of Tooth Fracture in Cats
When you take your cat to the vet for a teeth examination, they will check for any visible signs of tooth pulp damage. The vet will inquire about the time the fracture was first noticed and any potential traumatic events that could have caused it. It's essential to inform the vet about all symptoms your cat is experiencing. This will help the vet decide if your cat requires a more invasive treatment. The vet may give anesthesia or sedate your cat and perform an X-ray to determine whether there is any pulp damage.
What Can Be Done to Fix a Broken Tooth?
If the tooth has only suffered cosmetic damage with no pulp damage, then no treatment is necessary. However, if the pulp is exposed, the tooth will need to undergo a root canal or be extracted. Any damage to the gums or other soft tissues in the mouth will also be addressed during the procedure. Root canal therapy is often recommended and affordable.
After removing the infected pulp tissue, the tooth will be restored with a tooth-colored composite material to seal it and prevent future infection. Your veterinarian will take a radiograph to ensure the tooth is fully filled. If the pulp has died and caused an infection, the tooth will need to be extracted.
Antibiotics may be used to treat the infection if it persists after extraction. However, administering antibiotics without treating the damaged pulp or extracting the tooth will only temporarily cure the bacterial infection. The infection will likely return once the medication is stopped.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.
If you have concerns about your cat having a fractured tooth. Please contact our Little Miami Veterinary Services vets at South Lebanon today to book an oral examination.