Luna is a very sweet 1 ½ year old spayed female Labrador. She was presented for a routine wellness exam and was noticed to have a “chipped” tooth.
Fractured teeth are the #1 most common dental pathology we see in young large dogs. These “chipped” teeth are often brushed off as insignificant but can harbor significant disease. Luna’s owner is a wonderful owner and promptly brought her in for assessment of this tooth. The following is the dental x-ray of this tooth obtained a week later during a COHAT (comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment).
This tooth has a crown fracture with pulp exposure, also known as a “complicated crown fracture”. When this happens and the internal chamber of the tooth is exposed to the contaminated environment of the mouth, the pulp gets heavily infected within 24-48 hours and undergoes septic pulp necrosis (death from infection) over perhaps 2 months. This is very painful as it is happening.
This large dark circle demarcated by red arrows is pocket of infection (periapical abscess) in the facial bone as a result of this process. There are only 2 options to treat this condition, 1) tooth extraction, or 2) root canal therapy. The tooth was extracted in this case since this tooth is not of high value.
This is another example of how a routine wellness exam resulted in a dramatic improvement in this dog’s quality of life!