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What is Retained Baby Teeth?

Retained baby teeth is a condition specific to where the eruption of a permanent tooth occurs, which would normally occur when the canine is three to seven months of age, but the baby teeth stay in place. The oral issues that arise can be severe, and include abnormal positioning of permanent teeth, accidental bites that may disrupt and injure the dogs palate, an abnormal jaw position, or in severe cases, an inability to eat without pain. Early recognition is dependent on you, the owner, and is key to avoiding severe damage. Be sure to seek out the help of a veterinarian with the experience and technology to properly handle dental care in order to avoid permanent damage.

A retained or persistent deciduous (puppy) tooth for an adult dog can lead to oral diseases if it cannot fall out naturally. Common problems include a visually abnormal jaw position, overcrowding in teeth, palate biting, and difficulty biting or chewing. Although it can be an issue for older dogs (ex. boxers, bulldogs, pugs), it's more common among smaller breeds (ex. Maltese, Pomeranians, Poodles, and Yorkshire terriers).

Retained Baby Teeth Average Cost

From 72 quotes ranging from $300 - $800

Average Cost

$350

Symptoms of Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

Outside of obvious visual proof that the jaw sits abnormally or both teeth clamped together, other symptoms to look for with retained puppy teeth in dogs include:

  • Food collections in the gap of the teeth
  • Gingivitis
  • Overbite
  • Periodontitis
  • Premature loss of adult teeth
  • Pus cavity forming under teeth
  • Strenuous time eating food
  • Tartar deposits
  • Tooth decay
Types

There are four types of teeth that should be in a pet's mouth in the upper and lower jaw area:

  • Canine teeth

    - holding and tearing food

  • Incisors

    - cutting and nibbling food

  • Molars

    - grinding food

  • Premolars

    - cutting, holding, and shearing food

Puppies start out with 28 deciduous (temporary or "baby" teeth). As they grow into adult dogs, there should be 42 permanent teeth. The puppy teeth, or milk teeth as they are commonly referred to will start to fall out between 14 and 30 weeks of age. It's not uncommon for a dog to swallow the "tooth buds" from baby teeth while eating, but sometimes pet owners may find the crowns of these teeth around the dog's play or sleep area.

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Causes of Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

Malocclusion is a genetic abnormality that leads to some teeth not fitting together comfortably to chew or when a dog's mouth is closed. While 85 percent of dogs have some kind of oral disease at the age of four or older, baby teeth abnormalities are more likely linked to smaller dogs and usually at earlier ages.

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Diagnosis of Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

When a pet owner notices that a dog appears to have deciduous teeth next to adult teeth, it should be made a priority to contact a veterinarian. Pet owners should keep track of the progress on a dog's teeth during the first seven to eight months, in addition to daily dog teeth brushing to keep the mouth clean. A veterinarian may delay a potential extraction process until after spaying or neutering the animal due to general anesthesia that will be needed to examine the teeth, although there is controversy over whether the wait time is necessary.

Veterinarians will complete X-rays of the dog's mouth to determine whether stubborn teeth are not coming out in a timely manner and whether adult teeth are growing in. Looking for signs of pain may prove to be more difficult since dogs will more often than not either mask the pain or just grow used to it. This is why veterinarians do a complete examination on the mouth.

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Treatment of Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

If/when deciduous teeth show no signs of falling out naturally, a veterinarian will more than likely recommend having the baby teeth extracted. Fractured, or retained teeth, may also need to be removed. A veterinarian will complete a gingival flap, an oral process in which a dog's gums are separated from its teeth and folded back to reach the root of the tone and the bone.

While some dogs will genetically have an overbite, the tooth extraction process is also used to fix that if possible. Long upper jaws are necessary during the nursing years, but as a dog grows older, the lower jaw should have a growth spurt in which adult teeth grow in, too. If lower teeth get caught behind the upper teeth, the lower jaw cannot close properly. A veterinarian may recommend getting rid of a few lower baby teeth to correct the issue so the jaw can expand naturally. This will also get baby teeth out of the way so adult teeth can grow in.

Depending on the dog's teeth, a special plate (i.e., braces) or tooth shortening may also be useful to help along in the process for adult teeth to grow into the dog's mouth correctly.

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Recovery of Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

Extraction, along with any procedures to fix gums, should heal within six to eight weeks. If all teeth did not grow in naturally within approximately three months, then they should be able to grow in within a few weeks after the extraction process.

If a dog has trouble eating during the healing process, a feeding tube may be necessary. Frequent dental preventive care is recommended until all teeth grow in correctly.

Tooth decay and cavities are rare in most dogs, but cleaning a dog's teeth each day is recommended either way. If the teeth grow in correctly, and the dog's mouth is regularly cleaned, this should be a one-time issue.

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Cost of Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

The treatment corresponding to retained baby teeth is dependent on if tooth extraction is required. Tooth extraction costs on average $527 and can go upwards of $1000 depending on how late-stage the surgery is, how difficult the extraction is, and if additional teeth need to be extracted. A surgical gingival flap will cost between $32 and $55. If your veterinarian prescribes Tramadol to take home, it'll cost between $20 and $32. If your dog is also getting his teeth cleaned, which is suggested by most veterinarians when a dentistry event is taking place, the average cost will be $312 - $360.

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Retained Baby Teeth Average Cost

From 72 quotes ranging from $300 - $800

Average Cost

$350

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Retained Baby 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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Australian Shepherd

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Six Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

My puppy's cabine tooth is loose, though it is loose, it seems to be poking through his gum at the top. No bleeding but redness and what seems to be decay from the part that is poking through

Sept. 24, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

SO sorry to hear about your dog. Your puppy should lose this tooth about 6 months of age. If this spot is still there then, your puppy many have to lose this K9 tooth. This may also just be a small infected part of the gum that we see when puppies are teething and goes away once these teeth have fallen out. If this is still there once the K9 tooth falls out get your vet to look at this area and see if he needs any dental procedures done.

Sept. 25, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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6 Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Loose Teeth

Hi, I recently noticed that my dog had some loose teeth right in the front. I took her to the vet and they recommended a dental cleaning and extraction of the loose teeth. I had the procedure done and the vet had to pull quite a few teeth all in the front (incisors). She assured me this was normal, but now I am wondering if they were retained baby teeth. Those specific teeth have always look very funny/misaligned ever since I adopted her at 5-6 months old. How can I know if they were retained baby teeth. Will adult teeth grow in at her age if they were?

July 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello Your pup should have lost her baby teeth many years ago. It is likely that the incisors that were loose were adult teeth so they will be gone permanently. As long as she is eating well, she should not have any issues with having some incisors gone. Good luck.

July 22, 2020

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elvis

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Poodle x Shih-Tzu

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12 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I live in NY and my vet sent us to a doggie dentist (i have a small dog). The reason is because the baby canine teeth didn't fall out yet (he's almost a year old) and the adult canines aren't cutting thru yet. The dentist wants to pull the baby teeth and said the adult teeth are impacted and he needs to be pull those too. Is this normal? I'm afraid to pull adult teeth. If he takes out the baby teeth wont the adult ones come in after that?

Aug. 13, 2018

elvis' Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Normally, once the baby (deciduous) teeth come out, the adults follow, but that typically happens at about 6 months. Elvis may have special circumstances going on, and he may need different treatment. It isn't normal, but it might be necessary. If you aren't sure of the diagnosis, you may want to either talk to the veterinary dentist in more detail, or get a second opinion.

Aug. 13, 2018

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Meme

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Havanese

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Trouble Eating

My dog has two tiny teeth fangs on one side and regular size on the other I've mentioned this to 3 vets finally a new vet said oh those are baby teeth and thinks I should get them pulled at her age will the other teeth grow in now

July 25, 2018

Meme's Owner


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1 Recommendations

The other teeth should have grown in regardless of the baby teeth as they generally just push them out of the way when they come through, if the permanent teeth haven’t come through it may be worth having a dental x-ray done to determine whether the permanent teeth are present or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2018

Thankyou very much I wondered about that.

July 27, 2018

Meme's Owner

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Shadow

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Siberian Husky

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5 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

my puppies adult canine teeth on the bottom on both sides are starting to come in, but i noticed that those baby teeth we not even loose yet. it doesnt seem to be bothering her much at the moment, so would it be okay to leave it. or should i get it looked at?

July 4, 2018

Shadow's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

If both sets of teeth are still there in a month, it would be a good idea to have them looked at. There is a period of time where you may see both sets, but it should not last long as the baby teeth fall out.

July 5, 2018

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Bear

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Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen

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9 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Retained Upper Canine Tooth

My petit basset griffon vendéen is nine months old and I just realized his baby incisor hasn't fallen out yet. There is currently no protrusion of his adult canine yet. I know the sooner he gets it pulled the better. How soon should I have it pulled before it gets worse? Thank you so much!

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Viktoria

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Fox Terrier

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19 Weeks

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Canine Growing Next To Baby Tooth

My puppy is 19 weeks and has her Adult canine growing along side her baby canine.L (lower). The baby tooth is very loose but hasn’t dropped yet I only noticed two days ago. She’s lost two teeth for sure in the past week and has more baby teeth left. I’m hoping it will just fall out. She’s not in any pain she likes when I rub it but doesn’t care for Me wiggling the youth around.

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Echo

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Pomsky

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4 Months

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Retained Incisor

I have a 4 1/2 month old pomsky (75% husky/25% pom) and I noticed two of her bottom adult incisor teeth have begun growing in behind her baby teeth, this seems to have just started this week but her bottom teeth are not even wiggly yet. She has been chewing a bunch so I'm assuming she is uncomfortable. Is this something that will sort itself out and those two teeth will push the baby ones out and go into place? Or will she need surgery?

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Milo

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Yorkshire Terrier

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5 Months

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Retained Upper Canine

My Yorkie is 5 months old and I'm starting to see his adult upper canines coming out but the baby ones are still in place. all his other teeth have fallen properly before the adult ones coming out as far as I've seen. should I wait for his baby upper canines to fall on their own since he is still 5 months? He eats normal and shows no signs of pain.

Retained Baby Teeth Average Cost

From 72 quotes ranging from $300 - $800

Average Cost

$350

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