Getting to the root of the problem

By Connie Orcutt • Published: March 2nd, 2015
Category: Animal Airwaves

When dogs and cats sustain trauma or chew on something hard, a fractured tooth is a common outcome. Treatment may involve removing the tooth or performing a root canal. That’s right — root canals aren’t just for people any more.

A canal at the core of each tooth and extending into the root contains nerves and blood vessels called the pulp. Exposed pulp is very painful, even if our 4-legged friends don’t let on, and it can also be a conduit for infection.

Dental x-rays can reveal the condition of the pulp canal. A root canal simply means removing the damaged pulp while saving the tooth. So why not just remove the tooth? It turns out that extraction of a large tooth can cause significant pain of its own. And for working dogs, loss of a major tooth can be an even bigger deal.

So, if the tooth works, don’t take it.