Animal Dentistry and Oral Surgery Specialists, LLC

2409 Omro Road
Oshkosh, WI 54904-7713


Fractured (Broken) Teeth


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Lower canine tooth fractured from trauma.

Trauma is the most common cause of tooth fracture in cats.  The upper canine teeth are the most common teeth to be fractured (broken).  Canine teeth often fracture when cats jump down from heights.  When they land on their feet, the head may hit the landing surface striking the canine teeth.  The tips of these canine teeth often fracture from the impact.  Some teeth do not fracture and become discolored.  Discolored teeth are usually non-vital (dead) or are dying.  Dead teeth can lead to infection, tooth abscess formation, facial swelling, draining tracks and spread of bacteria throughout the body, especially to the heart, kidney and liver.

Feline tooth resorption (previously called FORL or feline odontoclastic resorption) causes severe weakening of teeth.  Many of these teeth eventually fracture.  All teeth are susceptible to tooth resorption with subsequent fracture.  The most frequently  affected teeth by this resorption are the lower premolars and molars followed by the canines and the upper premolars.

How can you tell if teeth are fractured?

If you look at your cat from the front, compare the length of the two upper canine teeth.  If one tooth appears shorter, it most likely is fractured.  If one tooth appears discolored, it is likely to be non-vital (dead).  Look at the tip of these teeth very carefully.  If the tip has a pink, black, grey or brown spot, it is likely fractured.


What should you do?

Fractured teeth need to be evaluated by your family veterinarian.  You can expect your veterinarian to examine the teeth visually and then under anesthesia take dental radiographs and further evaluate them with an explorer probe.


What treatment options are available for fractured teeth?

Fractured teeth should never be "watched" or ignored!  Dental extraction, root canal therapy or vital pulpotomy should be performed as soon as possible.

For the mandibular (lower) canine teeth, we consider dental extraction as the least desirable option.  Extraction of the lower canines severely weakens the jaw and has a relatively high rate of jaw fracture complications.

To perform any of these treatments, dental radiographs are critically important.  Dental radiographs are taken to diagnose and appropriately treat fractured teeth.

For more information and photos check out broken teeth.


Cat Dental Care