What is Tooth Eruption and Exfoliation?
The growth and loss of teeth in your dog’s mouth is typical and expected in his first 6 months to year of life. Your dog begins this process around 3 to 6 weeks and continues on until he is around 6 months old. At the 3 to 6-week timeline your dog’s primary teeth will erupt, at 3 months his permanent teeth erupt, and by 6 months it is typically done.
It is rare for there to be any problems with your dog’s teeth erupting and exfoliating. However, it is possible that he may not lose his teeth correctly or not lose them all within the time frame discussed above. Some of the issues your dog may face include: delayed eruption of his adult teeth, missing his adult teeth, fractured teeth, and the baby teeth sometimes do not fall out at all. All of these issues would call for your veterinarian to act.
Tooth eruption is when your dog’s new teeth push through his gums and emerge in his mouth. Exfoliation is the process by which your dog’s “baby” teeth fall out to make way for the eruption of his new teeth.
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Symptoms of Tooth Eruption and Exfoliation in Dogs
There are no particular symptoms to look for in your dog when he is erupting and exfoliating his teeth. However, you may notice some things happening, including:
- Finding your puppy’s lost teeth around the house
- On the other hand, you may never find the teeth as they often get swallowed
However, if there are any problems with your puppy’s adult teeth erupting you may notice some signs and symptoms.
- Adult teeth not erupting
- Empty spots where your puppy’s baby teeth have exfoliated but there is no new tooth
Missing adult teeth
- Sometimes your puppy just might not have an adult tooth under there and therefore their baby tooth may not exfoliate
- The baby tooth can remain intact and function for a period of time
- May eventually need to be extracted per your veterinarian
- Baby teeth are more susceptible to cracking
- Cracked teeth can expose your puppy’s tooth pulp
- Pulp can become infected
Baby teeth not falling out
- New tooth may erupt where old tooth is already
- New tooth may be displaced and not be functional
Causes of Tooth Eruption and Exfoliation in Dogs
Tooth eruption and exfoliation is a normal process of adulthood in your dog, he will lose his teeth naturally just like any of us would. The main cause of your puppy losing his baby teeth is in order for them to allow their adult teeth to erupt. This eruption ensures your dog is able to eat and remain healthy into adulthood.
However, some of the issues mentioned are caused by genetics in your puppy and can not necessarily be controlled or predicted. Some small breeds of dog can have trouble with their teeth not erupting on their own. Sometimes a malformed jaw or malocclusion issue can cause these tooth issues as well.
Diagnosis of Tooth Eruption and Exfoliation in Dogs
If it appears your dog is suffering from any of the above issues a visit to your veterinarian may be in order. It will be important to inform your veterinarian of how old your dog is and what you may have noticed that has concerned you.
Your veterinarian will most likely want to look in your dog’s mouth and see if there are any obvious issues including double teeth in one cavity, missing teeth, infections, cracked teeth, etc. Once these issues are identified, your veterinarian may need to do x-rays to determine any issues not seen. This will help her to decide if your dog needs any medical interventions or not.
Treatment of Tooth Eruption and Exfoliation in Dogs
Treatment options are specific to the particular issue your dog may be dealing with. Even if there are no concerns with your puppy’s teeth there is an option to use fluoride to ensure long and healthy tooth life for your dog. This can be done once your dog has all his adult teeth and is recommended when he is under general anesthesia.
- Diagnosis confirmed by x-ray
- Removal of the inhibition
- Done prior to 9 months so the tooth can erupt
- Extraction will eventually be necessary
- Tooth may be functional for years however
- X-rays are necessary to confirm the problems
- Extraction will be necessary
- X-rays should be done to determine if the tooth can be extracted or not
- Baby tooth to be pulled to make room for the permanent tooth to grow correctly
Recovery of Tooth Eruption and Exfoliation in Dogs
If you notice your puppy having any trouble or are concerned it will be necessary to bring him in for a vet visit. However, if any surgical procedures are done to remove teeth, your veterinarian may recommend follow up visits to ensure proper healing. Your puppy should exfoliate their baby teeth by the time they are 6 months old; it can happen up until 8 months or more for some dogs.