Cats are not as known for chewing or exploring the world with their mouths as dogs are, but they can still get up to no good and even damage their teeth! Here, our Ruckersville vets discuss the signs and symptoms of fractured teeth in cats and when it is considered an emergency.
How do cats get broken teeth?
Our vets at Ruckersville Animal Hospital see fractured teeth in cats fairly often.
A commonly broken tooth in cats is the canine; the longer, sharper tooth at the front corners of the mouth. These tooth breaks are usually a result of fights with other cats, chewing on hard objects, and even car accidents.
A chipped or broken cat tooth is considered a fracture, and the level of severity dictates the type of treatment required by the veterinarian. If you bring your kitty in for a tooth fracture, the vet will perform a dental examination and determine the best treatment as a result, ranging from tooth fillings to dental surgery.
Given how common these injuries are, it is important for cat owners to know how to recognize tooth fractures in their cats!
How to Tell When a Cat has a Broken Tooth
There are 4 main types of tooth fractures in cats and dogs:
- Uncomplicated crown fracture. A tooth fracture in the crown that does not expose the pulp.
- Complicated crown fracture. A crown fracture that does expose the pulp.
- Enamel fracture. A fracture or chip to the enamel (outer protective layer) of the tooth.
- Roof fracture. A tooth breakage that reaches the root.
While the different types of tooth fractures range in severity, they often present themselves in the same way: pained symptoms in your cat.
Signs & Symptoms of Broken Teeth in Cats
The first step to getting your cat help for their fractured tooth is recognizing the problem in the first place. Below are some signs and symptoms of broken teeth in cats that you might notice.
- Food avoidance or chewing on one side of the mouth
- Teeth grinding
- Facial swelling
- Food falling out of the mouth when eating
- Squirming or running away when the face is petted
- Pawing at the mouth
Is a fractured cat tooth an emergency?
If your cat has a severe tooth fracture, the breakage could reach the pulp in the center of the tooth, which contains the soft tissue and nerve endings. This could lead to infection of the mouth and severe pain. In this scenario, your cat's tooth fracture is an emergency.
In general, it is good practice to treat every tooth fracture and crack as an emergency. A veterinarian will be able to best assess the condition of your kitty's tooth to determine if emergency treatment is required.