Clumsy Puppy

 
 
Paper Trained
by
Scott Sandeman, D.V.M.
 
Q.)  My 15 week old Boxer jumped off the hearth of our fireplace and broke his baby tooth-one of the large sharp fangs.  He is a little bit clumsy but I don’t think he hurt himself too bad-he was able to eat a treat right after his accident!   The tooth is broken in about half and I would take him right in to my veterinarian but I have an appointment for his last vaccination next week.  Should I do anything until then or is it an emergency?
A.)  Baby teeth or deciduous teeth have only a couple of options available when fractured but they can have a profound effect on surrounding permanent teeth if not appropriately handled. 
Teeth that have just had the tip of the crown broken and the pulp is not exposed can be left in place assuming the root hasn’t been damaged.  This shouldn’t be uncomfortable as long as sharp edges of the tooth aren’t damaging other tissues.   However, to evaluate the root-damage can occur that isn’t visible- your veterinarian may suggest an x-ray of the tooth.  Injuries to the roots in this area could affect the normal development of permanent teeth that haven’t erupted yet.
For teeth that have exposed pulp-look for a dark central core to the tooth on the broken surface-more aggressive therapy may be necessary.  These teeth can become infected which can also damage nearby permanent teeth.  After dental x-rays are taken, the tooth should carefully be pulled to minimize additional trauma to the surrounding teeth.
You should contact your veterinarian for advice but be prepared to have your friend examined sooner rather than later. Hopefully, dental x-rays will suggest you can wait and that the baby tooth will fall out normally.

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