This is Tiny Tim, a six month old Yorkie mix at Sault Ste. Marie Animal Clinic for neutering but he has a problem in his mouth – he has too many teeth!
Did you know that just like human children, puppies and kittens have a set of baby (deciduous) teeth which are replaced by adult teeth – usually between the ages of 4 and six months? Dogs will have 28 deciduous teeth and 42 adult or permanent ones while cats will have 26 deciduous and 30 permanent teeth.
Normally, the baby teeth fall out as the adult teeth are growing in. The roots of the baby teeth become weaker as the cells of the tooth root begin to die off (from genetic preprogramming) and pressure from the permanent teeth growing in. In some cases, the baby teeth don’t fall out on their own. This condition is called “Retained Deciduous Teeth” and can cause serious dental problems for the pet. Retained deciduous teeth can adversely affect the position of the permanent teeth and if left in place can make the pet prone to tartar accumulation, gingivitis and periodontal disease. Because of the potential problems associated with retained deciduous teeth, we generally recommend surgically removing any that are present when the puppy or kitten is in for spaying or neutering at approximately six months of age.
Often it will just be one or two baby teeth that don’t fall out (often the canine teeth or “fangs”) but some puppies will have almost two complete sets of teeth in their mouth at one time. These guys look like little sharks! Our record is one Chihuahua who had to have 19 baby teeth removed! Tiny Tim needed to have __baby teeth removed. His adult teeth will be much healthier now that the baby teeth are out of the way.
Click here for more information about dental services provided at Sault Ste Marie Animal Clinic.