Dentistry and Oral Surgery

Root Canals and Fractured Teeth Treatment

A fractured tooth with pulp exposure, when left untreated, can often lead to a bigger, more painful problem – a root canal. It is imperative that the fracture be taken care of as soon as possible to lessen the chances of a tooth extraction. Using other methods, including cement and gutta percha filling techniques, our veterinarians will be able to not only fill the fracture, but will also be able to maintain the form and function of the tooth.


Tooth extraction was at the top of the list of surgeries performed on cats and dogs, coming in as the number one reason for surgery on cats and the number three reason for dogs. Simple and complicated extractions of teeth from the mouth are common dental procedures, and tend to need to be done more often than owners realize. Here at the Animal Hospital, we have digital dental X-ray machines, so we can properly assess your pet’s mouth to determine if any of the teeth will need to be removed or not. Teeth that need to be extracted, but do not get taken care of immediately, can cause further medical conditions in your pet.

Restoratives – Caries and Crowns

While relatively uncommon, tooth decay (caries) may occasionally be seen in dogs. Cats generally do not get caries, but are prone to feline oral resorptive lesions. Usually, caries lesions begin at or below the gum line. Symptoms include pain and red, inflamed gums around the affected tooth, as well as bad breath. Caries require immediate attention – if left untreated, they can lead to cavities. The cavity treatment for dogs is similar to the cavity treatment for humans, where your vet will use a drill and filling material to restore the tooth. In the event of a fractured or diseased tooth, your veterinarian may elect to use crown therapy, though crowns are not nearly as common in dogs and cats as they are in people. The primary reason for installing a crown in your pet is not aesthetics, but protection for the remaining tooth.


Just like people, pets can occasionally have a malocclusion (misaligned teeth), causing an uncomfortable, dysfunctional, and possibly painful bite. Sometimes this misalignment may actually make your pet more susceptible to periodontal disease and chronic infection. What is considered to be a “proper” bite varies from breed to breed, depending on their standards, but there are several kinds of malocclusions. Fortunately, most can be corrected. Treatment plans are custom designed to the individual needs of the patient. Where tooth extraction used to be the only option, now there are a variety of techniques available with the use of acrylic appliances, brackets, and elastics.

Tumor Surgery

Growths in the oral cavity are fairly common in dogs and cats. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to tell if it’s a harmful growth just by looking at it. Early detection and examination are critical to your pet’s health, so don’t “wait and see what happens”. Have the growth tested as soon as possible! There are two kinds of tumors:

  • benign – these are generally harmless, do not spread, and have a high potential for successful removal
  • malignant – these are invasive, have the potential to spread to other parts of the body, and must be treated aggressively – treatment works best with early detection

For dogs, about 50% of oral tumors are benign, the most common being a growth called an “epulid” or a tumor of the periodontal ligament. Unfortunately, oral tumors in cats are rarely benign, with about a 90% chance of being malignant. Because benign and malignant tumors behave differently, they are not always treated in the same way. Most benign tumors can be removed with relatively non-invasive surgery. Treatment for malignant tumors varies, depending on how early the tumor is detected, the size of the tumor, and on the type of malignancy. In addition to surgery to remove the cancerous tissue, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and cryosurgery (freezing) may be used.

(973) 227-8864
Animal Hospital of Fairfield
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