Pulpitis is inflammation of the tooth pulp. The pulp consists of blood vessels, nerve endings, lymphatics, and connective tissues.
The most common cause of pulpitis is traumatic force to the tooth. These are a few things that will fracture the tooth exposing the pulp cavity.
Antlers and bones are too hard for your pets teeth. If you were to take the item and you hit it against your knee and it hurts you, it will hurt your pet too. Tooth on tooth contact is called attrition and this can wear down the enamel and dentin exposing the pulp. Tennis balls are another culprit that can wear down the teeth. Dogs who chew on rocks are also at risk. These are what I would recommend for alternatives.
Pet owners can look at their cat and dogs teeth and if you see a red or black dot on the tooth shown by the green arrow, your pets pulp is exposed. Once the pulp is exposed it is only a matter of time for bacteria to go into the dot and cause lots of inflammation and potentially infection. That can cause a root abscess which is extremely painful. The inflammation in the pulp chamber increases pressure and restricts blood flow essentially causing the tooth to painfully die. If the core of the tooth is damaged and the tissues are dead it will turn purple which is seen by the red circle and that is a for sure sign of pulpitis.
We would recommend this tooth be removed. There is often an inclination to tell owners to simply “keep an eye on it.” But because these pets are often in pain, a wait-and-see approach won't cut it because we strive to provide high-quality patient care.
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