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Tooth Dislocation or Sudden Tooth Loss in Dogs

Sometimes, our dogs can suffer a tooth dislocation that leads to losing a tooth or even the sudden loss of a tooth. Today, our Los Angeles vets describe how this can happen and how we can treat it.

Tooth luxation is the clinical term for a tooth that has moved from its normal position in the mouth. Vertical (downward) or lateral (on either side) movements can occur as a result of disease, injury, or simply bad luck.

In lateral luxation, the tooth tips to the side. Lateral luxation is usually caused by an injury that shifts the tip of the tooth to one side. Vertical luxation is associated with tooth root dislocation. If a tooth has luxated completely from its bony socket, it is said to be avulsed, which means it has been torn suddenly from its place.

What are the symptoms of tooth dislocation?

When a tooth is avulsed, it has been knocked out of its bony socket. The most common causes are dental trauma or infection. When touched during extrusion, the tooth protrudes outward and can be manipulated in all three dimensions. In the case of lateral luxation, the crown of the tooth is off-center to one side.

What are the causes of tooth dislocation?

There are two main causes of tooth dislocation:

  • Trauma or injury caused by events such as car accidents, falls, or fights
  • Dogs with chronic tooth infections are more vulnerable

How does a vet diagnose a tooth dislocation?

Radiographic imaging of the tooth arcade, i.e., the mouth cavity, is the most important diagnostic test for this type of injury. A thorough physical examination will allow your veterinarian to determine whether the tooth is luxated or avulsed and whether it can be saved. You must provide a detailed history of your dog's health, the onset of symptoms, and any incidents that may have preceded this condition. To take X-rays of the affected teeth, X-ray films will be placed in the oral cavity.

Is there treatment for tooth dislocation?

Using various materials, including fine wires, surgery can usually be performed to return the tooth to its normal position. Anesthesia will be required for the procedure to be performed to prevent pain and movement by the dog.

Time is critical to the success of canine oral surgery. The best results are typically obtained when the tooth is returned to its socket within 30 minutes of avulsion.

If your dog has an avulsed tooth, you can protect it by placing it in a normal saline solution and taking it to your veterinarian. It usually takes 4-6 weeks for the tooth to reimplant properly in the socket. If you don't have saline on hand, place the tooth in a small amount of milk until it can be delivered to your veterinarian.

The fixation material will be removed after 4-6 weeks, and X-rays will be taken to confirm the reimplantation of the affected tooth. If the tooth is not properly fixed, it must be extracted due to fixation failure.

What should I do after surgery?

Your veterinarian will recommend a temporary soft diet to aid in healthy bone reformation. Do not allow your dog to pick up solid objects with its mouth during this time to avoid further trauma to the implanted tooth.

In most cases, the teeth must be rinsed with an antiseptic solution on a daily basis. Oral rinses for dogs are available and can be used to maintain good oral hygiene. Your veterinarian will likely instruct you on how to properly clean your dog's teeth, and the most effective methods for removing debris, food particles, and other material from between the teeth, including the implanted tooth.

Do you suspect your dog has a dislocated tooth? Contact our vets at Shatto Veterinary Center in Los Angeles today to book an examination for your pup.

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