Village Veterinary Clinic of Hamburg’s Pet of the Week!
Huey is a 8 month old mix that was here last week for a dental procedure. His upper canine deciduous (baby) tooth did not fall out. His other remaining baby teeth had all fallen out and his adult teeth were coming in as planned, but this final tooth was being stubborn. This can be a common problem in puppies, especially in smaller breeds or brachycephalic breeds (pushed in faces) such as Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese, Shih Tzu, Pugs, Bulldogs, etc. Although, retained baby teeth can occur in any breed.
Like humans, dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetime. There are 28 deciduous or baby teeth and 42 permanent or adult teeth in dogs. Puppies are born without any visible teeth. The deciduous teeth start erupting through the gums around three weeks of age and are normally finished erupting by four months of age. Puppy teeth will begin to fall out between 4-6 months of age and the adult teeth should be erupted between 6-9 months of age.
Long before adult teeth erupt through the gums, they begin developing from tooth buds. As the adult teeth develop and get bigger, they begin to press against the roots of the baby teeth, stimulating the puppy’s body to begin resorbing the tooth roots. The baby tooth roots then weaken and finally disappear, leaving only the crowns (the outer shell of the tooth) behind. As the adult teeth push through the gums, the crowns of the baby teeth fall out. You may even find these hollow shells of teeth on the floor or in your puppy’s bedding, but more often than not the teeth will fall out while they are eating or they will swallow them.
A retained tooth occurs when the tooth root is either incompletely resorbed or it did not resorb at all. When this happens, the baby tooth occupies the place in the mouth that is meant for the permanent tooth. This forces the permanent tooth to erupt at an abnormal angle or in an abnormal position. The result is often crowding or malposition of the tooth, causing an abnormal bite.
If both a deciduous (baby) tooth and a permanent tooth are in the same socket, the crowding of the two teeth will increase the likelihood that food and debris will become trapped between the teeth causing increased likelihood for dental disease down the road. This can lead to problems such as tartar deposits, tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease, all of which can lead to premature loss of teeth. If the root of the retained tooth has only been partly resorbed, it can become badly infected. If teeth are malpositioned, they can rub against other teeth, wearing away the enamel and weakening the tooth. Occasionally, a retained deciduous tooth may interfere with the normal growth and development of the jaw bones. If the retained tooth is a lower canine, the permanent lower canine is forced to grow on the inside of the lower jaw and its tip usually grows towards the roof of the mouth, causing pain and damage which makes it difficult for your dog to eat.
Huey did great after his tooth was removed! All his other teeth had grown in normally.
Village Veterinary Clinic of Hamburg! We are open 7 days a week, 365 days a year (Doctors available daily until midnight. Veterinary technicians available daily 24/7 for phone support and patient monitoring)! 716-646-4023!