Tyler’s owners noticed a piece of tooth fall from his mouth. When they investigated, they discovered that he had lost a piece from one of his large teeth on the back left hand side of his mouth. He was in obvious discomfort when trying to chew and eat so they brought him to 387 Vets.
Examination of Tyler’s mouth confirmed he had a ‘slab fracture’ (where the side wall of the tooth is missing) in his carnassial tooth or fourth premolar.
Tyler’s tooth was so painful because the pulp cavity – the live, sensitive central part of the tooth – was now exposed. Once this happens, bacteria enters the tooth which will ultimately die, leading to complete loss of sensation. However, whilst the tooth remains alive there is often considerable pain.
Furthermore, an infected pulp cavity most often leads to a tooth root abscess. Therefore it is really important to extract damaged teeth and not to ignore them.
Carnassial teeth have three roots and are difficult to extract given the root length. We first needed to divide the tooth into three sections, flap open the overlying gum and remove windows of bone over the roots of the tooth – known as surgical flaps – to extract the whole tooth piece by piece. Unless already loose, it is not possible to remove the roots of dogs’ teeth without using this technique. Tyler’s gum was then sutured back in place over the cavity created.
Surgery was a success and Tyler can now tuck into his food again with relish!