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What is Loss of Teeth?

Your dog may be missing one or more teeth for multiple reasons. The tooth may never have formed, or while it is present below the gum line, it never came in. A tooth could also have been malformed. Should your dog experience periodontal disease, it can result in a tooth or teeth being extracted; he can also lose a tooth or teeth due to trauma. 

Dental care is necessary for your dog; in the case of periodontal disease for example, not only can it impact your dog’s teeth, but bacteria from the condition can work its way to other parts of his body, causing problems elsewhere.

Your dog may be missing one or more teeth as a result of the tooth or teeth not being formed, having formed improperly or having never come in; a tooth or teeth may also be missing due to periodontal disease or as a result of trauma.

Symptoms of Loss of Teeth in Dogs

Your dog will show signs of possible periodontal disease. These include:

  • Bad breath
  • Redness or bleeding at the gum line
  • Drooling (sometimes with blood)
  • Trouble chewing, which can look like messy eating
  • Pawing at his mouth
  • Less or no appetite
  • Missing teeth (or teeth are loose)
  • Swelling in his face
  • Receding gums
  • Discharge from his nose

Should a tooth have not formed or grown in completely in your dog’s mouth, you may observe a space where the tooth would usually be. Should a tooth become loose or fall out as a result of trauma, you may notice bleeding at its location.

Types

 

A tooth may not have formed, or may have formed abnormally. In other cases, a tooth may be formed but not emerge past the gum line. Teeth may fall out or need to be removed as the result of periodontal disease or physical trauma.

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Causes of Loss of Teeth in Dogs

Missing teeth can be caused by periodontal disease, which is inflammation of the structures that support that surround your dog’s teeth. It will occur when the gums become inflamed (also known as gingivitis) in conjunction with bone and tooth support structure inflammation (known as periodontitis). These two things will hinder the support system of your dog’s tooth and are the most likely cause of tooth loss in dogs, occurring in some fashion in over 85% of dogs that are more than four years old.

Bacteria will first form a plaque on your dog’s teeth. Over the course of days, the minerals that are in your dog’s saliva will connect with the plaque and tartar will develop. Tartar is a hard substance that will stick to your dog’s teeth. The bacteria will make their way under your dog’s gums, leading to the gums becoming inflamed. As the bacteria are under the gums they can start to destroy the tissue that surrounds and support your dog’s tooth. Since the bacteria can travel in your dog’s bloodstream to his heart, kidneys, and liver, periodontal disease can cause more than lost teeth.

A tooth may be missing due to it never forming, being malformed or having not grown in from the gum line. A tooth can also fall out as the result of trauma.

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Diagnosis of Loss of Teeth in Dogs

In the case of trauma, the reason for the missing tooth or teeth will be easy to diagnose. Should you notice a missing tooth in your dog, or observe the symptoms of dental disease, you will want to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. 

Your veterinarian will conduct an examination of your dog’s mouth, looking for signs of gingivitis and the formation of tartar. As the majority of periodontal disease is present under his gums, the best way to determine the severity of your dog’s condition is for your veterinarian to conduct an examination while your dog is anesthetized. He can then use a dental probe to see the degree of loss of attachment around each tooth, as well as take x-rays to get an understanding of the bone loss that has occurred and whether there are abscesses or other issues.

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Treatment of Loss of Teeth in Dogs

The treatment that your doctor recommends will depend on the cause of the missing tooth or teeth, or in the case of periodontal disease, will be to minimize the likelihood of teeth falling out or having to be removed. 

If the tooth is present, however, never came in and is found early in the dog’s life, your veterinarian may consider surgery of his gum to encourage the tooth to come in. If the dog is over one year of age and has a tooth that has not come in, your veterinarian may recommend extracting the unerupted tooth as it can lead to dentigerous cysts forming, which can grow large and result in damage to other teeth. Should a cyst form, surgery can be performed to remove the impacted tooth and cystic lining.

If your dog is experiencing mild periodontal disease where he has gingivitis but has not had bone loss, a thorough dental cleaning will be conducted that includes the area underneath the gum. This can help in resolving the problem. Should the disease be more severe and there be loss in the supporting structures, the condition cannot be resolved while the tooth is present. Therefore, your veterinarian may consider procedures to slow the disease, like applying antibiotics beneath the gums, root planing, a root canal or extracting the tooth.

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Recovery of Loss of Teeth in Dogs

To avoid periodontal disease being an ongoing issue, you can brush your dog’s teeth daily in order to eliminate plaque before it turns to tartar and take him to the veterinarian for regular cleanings. Depending on the severity of disease, some dogs may need a dental cleaning every four months. There are also special rinses and foods that can help the health of your dog’s teeth and gums.

Should your dog be over a year old and require surgery for an impacted tooth, he should make a full recovery. Your veterinarian may request a follow up appointment after extracting the tooth to confirm he is healing.

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Loss of Teeth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Yorkshire Terrier

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Nine Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Wound

He got hurt about a week ago and Thinking at this point it may be infected but not sure

Aug. 2, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. That wound may be infected, I think you're right. Without being able to actually see him in his hard to say but it looks like it would be best to take him to a veterinarian. He may need antibiotic care. I hope that all goes well for him.

Aug. 2, 2020

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Chihuahua

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Missing Middle Front Milk Tooth

My dog is definitely not a pup anymore but she’s not old by any means she doesn’t chew on anything really I guess I really just want to know could she have lost her tooth because they were crooked as heck and ran out of space?

July 31, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello- In dogs adult teeth erupt between four and six months of age. If she lost a tooth at this point I am a little concerned that it was an adult tooth that fractured. I would recommend scheduling an exam with your veterinarian to assess the mouth. They will be able to tell you if it was a deciduous or an adult tooth and be able to see whether it appears the full tooth is gone or whether there’s potentially a retained root.

July 31, 2020

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gracie

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mini schnauzer

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Stinky
Stinky Breath

my dog is a little rescue that came to me a year ago. she's aprox 11 and only had 3 teeth then. vet said she would probably lose those too. she just lost one but she's eating fine but her breath is worse than usual. could this mean infection?

Sept. 14, 2018

gracie's Owner

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Jinx

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Poodle

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15 Years

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Fair severity

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1 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Tooth Loss

Good afternoon, I have a 15 year old poodle. Yesterday one of his teeth fell out, my question is does the tooth cleaning take place under anaesthesia and is it advisable to put my dog under anaesthesia on his age?

Sept. 6, 2018

Jinx's Owner

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cooper

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lab

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9 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Lost Canine Tooth

We have a lab/shepherd mix. Cooper weighs about 84 pounds and is about 9 years old. My son was petting him and noticed a large canine tooth in his bed. just laying there. It is huge and we dont know what happened. He was in a fight 2 weeks ago with another dog but dont know if that has anything to do with it. What should we do if anything??

Aug. 12, 2018

cooper's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

You should ensure that Cooper is still eating and drinking with no pain from the loss of the tooth; however you should visit your Veterinarian to ensure that the whole tooth has come out and that there isn’t a part of the root remaining, also your Veterinarian will check for any underlying issues which may cause tooth loss and may perform a dental x-ray to look for loss of jawbone. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 13, 2018

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Scraggy

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Mixed german shep

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

My dog loves pulling game. He will bring hand towel or his rope or frisbee or slippers, he just loves to pull. It is a game for him. This is happening since we have rescued him three years back. Today when I saw his mouth his front two incisors were missing. Since yesterday he was nibbling my husband’s track pants and today mine when I noticed the loss. He has stomach problems quite often. He will vomit and will have loose motions. I am so worried about it . He has no bad breath or gum problem.

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Sir Robin

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Papillon

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16 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

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My 16 yr pappillon had to have all his remaining teeth extracted a year ago, due to peridontal disease, and was later attacked by a larger dog, sustaining injuries (as he couldnt defend himself) and got an infection. ..he needed antibiotics for a month until injuries healed. He now doesnt have a very good appetite, since he still has not gotten used to eating without teeth. I have resorted to feeding him the meat baby food,(suggested by my vet) but he just has not been able to gain his his weight back, I am concerned that he is so thin. .

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Dexter

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Miniatur Daschound

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12 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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Toothless Care

After removal all his teeth. -after his surgery, my little Daschound is toothless. How to I keep up with his oral hygiene without his teeth. -He is 12 years old rescue.

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Choola

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Chihuahua yorkie mix

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8 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Tooth Loss
Tooth Loss, Bad Breath

A week ago I noticed that my dog was missing more than half of all her front teeth. I've never taken her to get a tooth cleaning and I ve never brushed her teeth for her. I think she might have peridontitis, and I've made it worse by having her eat food for large dogs because we also have a large dog who lives outside. Also we have cats and she often eats the cats food. I feel horrible that I caused this to happen to her, what can i do to help her?

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Yana

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Yorkshire Terrier

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Bad Breath Loss Of Teeth

I also have a yorkie with this problem! She’s about 6-years-old and I adopted her when she was like 3. I noticed that she had very bad breath as soon as I got her but just assumed it was the food they had been feeding her. I started brushing her teeth every two days but her teeth just wouldn’t get better. I took her to a vet but I don’t think he was very knowledgeable about this specific subject. Three years have passed and she has lost various teeth along the way. She eats perfectly fine all in all she seems like a healthy dog but I’m so worried about her great loss of teeth and the accumulation of tartar even with brushing! I’m very scared to brush her teeth lately since some of them are loose. Idk what to do anymore.