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D2010-45

Dear Daisy Dog

One of my dog’s canine teeth suddenly turned purple. What happened, and what should I do about it?

Daisy Responds

As a tooth dies, its color changes from white to pink to purple and finally to gray.

Some trauma has caused the pulp in the center of the tooth to bleed. You’re looking through the tooth at red blood cells that percolated from the pulp into the dentin tubules and are beginning to break down.

Veterinary dentists recommend dental x-rays, called radiographs, to determine whether treatment is needed.

If the radiographs indicate that the tip of the tooth’s root is infected, the tooth will require root canal therapy or extraction to prevent mouth pain and other problems. Your regular veterinarian can treat the tooth or refer you to a veterinary dentist.

If the radiographs don’t reveal obvious abnormalities, some dental experts recommend treating the tooth so problems don’t develop, while others favor watchful waiting: monitoring the tooth for pain or other changes, and re-radiographing it in a year.

As a girl with her share of tooth problems, I advise you to make an appointment with your veterinarian soon, before your dog experiences significant mouth pain.

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