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D2008-06

Dear Daisy Dog

Maximus, my 3-year-old retriever mix, broke one of his canine teeth while chewing on rocks. Does he need a filling or a crown, or may I just ignore it?

Daisy Responds

It’s never good to ignore a fractured tooth. Whether it requires special treatment depends on how much of the tooth is gone.

If Maximus fractured only the tip of the canine, and the tooth’s dentin and pulp canal are not exposed, he should be fine. A filling bonded to the tip would probably fall off, so it’s not advised.

However, if the dentin or pulp is exposed, Maximus requires treatment.

The fractured tooth is not only painful – just ask my golden retriever brother Sam, who sheared off a canine tooth at the gum line – but it’s also unhealthy.

The exposed pulp canal gives bacteria a free ride into the root’s nerve and blood vessels.

These fractures require a root canal and possibly a crown – usually a stainless steel crown, which a guy named Maximus surely would be proud to display – or extraction.

Your regular veterinarian or a veterinary dentist can examine Maximus and advise you about the best treatment.

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