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Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

Retained Deciduous Teeth in Dogs

Retained deciduous teeth in dogs, also known as persistent baby teeth, refer to those that remain despite the eruption of permanent teeth, typically occurring between three to seven months of age. This condition can lead to the permanent teeth erupting in abnormal positions, resulting in incorrect bite patterns where the upper and lower teeth don’t align properly during biting or chewing. Furthermore, retained deciduous teeth may cause overcrowding, accidental bites into the palate, or abnormal jaw positioning.

Early detection and prompt dental care are crucial to prevent permanent damage, yet this issue often goes unnoticed until later stages of a dog’s life. While retained deciduous teeth are more prevalent in dogs, they can also affect cats. This condition tends to be more common in smaller breeds such as Maltese, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, and Pomeranians.

Symptoms and Types

Aside from noticing the presence of deciduous (baby) teeth when permanent teeth start emerging, the following symptoms and signs may manifest:

  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Permanent teeth positioned abnormally
  • Swollen, red, and bleeding gums surrounding baby teeth
  • Localized gingivitis and periodontal disease caused by teeth overcrowding
  • Development of a permanent abnormal connection between the mouth and nasal cavity, known as an oronasal fistula


No specific causes have been identified.


During the diagnosis, your veterinarian will conduct a thorough physical examination and examine your dog’s oral cavity. They will document the teeth present and note the presence of deciduous teeth. Additionally, X-rays of the oral cavity will be taken to confirm which teeth are permanent and which are deciduous, as well as to assess if the baby teeth have permanent successors prepared to replace them.


The baby tooth needs to be surgically extracted once the permanent tooth starts emerging through your dog’s gums. Additionally, fractured or retained roots may require removal using a gingival flap technique. This procedure involves separating the gums from the teeth and folding them back to enable the veterinarian to access the tooth root and underlying bone.

Living and Management

Following the surgery, limit your dog’s activity for the remainder of the day. Offer a soft diet such as canned food or moistened dry kibble, and refrain from providing access to chew toys for 24 hours post-surgery.

Your veterinarian will supply oral pain medication for your pet to take for one to three days following the procedure. Additionally, you might be instructed to administer an oral rinse or gel in your pet’s mouth for three to five days afterward. Commence daily brushing 24 hours after the surgery.

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