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Broken Tooth? Here’s What You Need to Know

October 31, 2011

I don’t condone this, but it’s cute | Photo courtesy Thea Lux

Not a day goes by when I don’t seriously wish I could buy helmets for my CH kitties.

Most of the time when CH cats tip or tumble they get right back on their feet. But there are other times when you can’t help but wonder how that head-on crash into the wall didn’t result in some sort of injury or pain.

Since CH cats are accident-prone, you need to watch them extra carefully to know when they’ve hurt themselves. All you can do in the meantime is try to make your home as safe as possible.

But accidents still happen.

For us, chipped teeth have been the result. CG was about a year old when I discovered his. The tip of one of his canines had broken off. After one of Ellie’s first visits to our vet, we learned that she had already chipped her two (newly grown in) top canines.

I had read about CH cats breaking their teeth, and I wasn’t surprised. After most head tremors, CG will lose control of his neck, and his chin will crash into the floor. When it happens while he’s on hardwood, it’s impossible not to cringe for him.

So when I noticed one of his canines was chipped, I wasn’t surprised — but I was concerned. He acted completely normal, but I wanted to make sure he was OK. When I brought this concern up while at the vet, she quickly dismissed it after taking a look. Ellie’s vet did the same and said it was relatively normal. But I can’t imagine we’re all that lucky.

After doing some research, I learned that broken or fractured teeth really aren’t that uncommon. Most dogs or cats can chip a tooth by simply biting something with too much force or playing a bit too intensely.

Most of the time, the result is simply a cosmetic issue. If this is the case, your vet can most likely smooth the tooth’s edges and seal it with a bonding agent.

The trouble comes when the crack is big enough that it exposes the tooth’s pulp. The pulp canal is where the blood vessels and nerve endings are located in the tooth. If this is exposed, it can be incredibly painful for your cat. However, most pets won’t show signs of pain. If you suspect this may be the case with your cat, watch her to see if her eating patterns change, or if she chews on the opposite side of her mouth, etc.

Usually our pets will just live with the pain until the nerve dies, which can take a few weeks to months. Until it dies, it will continue to be sensitive and painful. But you’re not out of the woods once the nerve dies. Once it does, food, saliva, bacteria and more can enter the pulp canal, which can cause an infection.

There are several options if you reach this stage, but of course it’s best to consult with your vet.

Has your CH cat ever chipped a tooth? Did your vet offer any advice? Please share in the comments!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. JacquieB permalink
    November 1, 2011 1:33 am

    Thank you for this informative article!

  2. November 9, 2011 9:22 am

    Love the photo…I am always wishing Elf had a helmet. The floor is cushioned with good carpet, but there are table & chair legs, and that bookcase….thinking seriously about putting some foam on the legs.

    Elf chipped a tooth before we got her, but this post is a very good reminder that we should check her teeth often. Thanks!

  3. Arieana permalink
    April 10, 2016 7:23 pm

    Thanks helpful


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