Dogs should shed their deciduous teeth (or baby teeth) by around 6 months of age, allowing space for their adult teeth to erupt and grow in the correct direction.
Sometimes this process doesn’t happen and the deciduous tooth (or teeth) does not fall out so the adult tooth attempts to erupt and grow alongside it.
This process is more common in small breed dogs such as terriers, and usually involves the upper canine teeth. It rarely happens in cats for some reason.
WHY DOES THIS MATTER?
As you can see from the photo, this young dog has effectively two canine teeth: the smaller one is the baby or deciduous tooth, and the larger one in front of it is the dog’s adult tooth. Between the two teeth is an obvious build up of plaque, which can cause gum disease and tooth erosion. Sometimes food can get caught up between the two teeth and decay there, often causing a foul smell!
The deciduous tooth still being in situ has also caused the adult tooth to grow at an odd angle.
Retained teeth is something that we check for and will be noted by our vets or nurses at your puppy’s routine check ups.
We recommend removing these deciduous teeth under anaesthetic if they haven’t fallen out by the time a puppy is around 6 months of age. This often coincides with their neutering procedure, so we perform both procedures under one anaesthetic.
Once the deciduous tooth is removed, the adult tooth is cleaned, and will eventually move back into it’s correct position, and it should not affect the dog during the rest of their life.