Retained Baby Teeth

Outlet_2 This is the special outlet where my new dental X-ray machine will soon be installed.  I had to get a dedicated circuit put in (I can hardly wait for the electrician’s bill).

There are lots of good reasons to take dental X-rays when you’re working on a pet’s teeth, but I’m only going to talk about one of them today.

Like people, dogs and cats start out with a set of deciduous, or baby, teeth.  These are quite small.  As the animal grows, these teeth don’t.  By the time the pet is about three months old, the teeth look too small for the animal, and there is noticeable space between them.  That’s because the jaws are growing and the teeth aren’t.   At roughly sixteen weeks, permanent teeth begin to emerge.  The first ones will be the upper incisors — the two teeth right in the middle of the front on the upper jaw (numbers 101 and 201 for your dentists out there).  By five to six months, most pets have all of their permanent teeth, with the canine teeth (fangs) coming in last.  As the permanent teeth come in, the roots of the baby teeth dissolve, and they just fall out to make room for the new tooth… most of the time, that is.

It’s very common to see some baby teeth retained.  The permanent tooth has come in beside them, and now we have two teeth in the space meant for one.  This is most common with the canine teeth, the fangs, and it’s not good.  The bottom fang should come up and rest in a groove just in front of the upper fang.  If the upper "baby fang" is still present, it pushes the permanent tooth forward, making that groove too small.  If the lower "baby fang" doesn’t go away, the permanent tooth comes up into the roof of the mouth, instead of that groove.  So, if you see permanent teeth coming in while the baby teeth are still there, it’s important to have those baby teeth extracted.  We want the permanent teeth to come in to the right spot. It’s not just a matter of a pretty smile: think how it would feel to have one of your teeth always poking you in the roof of the mouth — OUCH.

Baby_canines2 When the baby tooth’s root has not dissolved, it can be quite long. In the case of the canine tooth (fang), the root is about twice as long as the tooth you can see.  This requires general anesthesia to extract, as you’ve got to do a bit of digging to get it out in one piece.

Baby_teeth2_2 These teeth are the  reason that I started the post by talking about a dental X-ray unit.  This six-months old Yorkie puppy looked like it had a mouth full of permanent teeth, and we just needed to get those two baby fangs that were hanging on.  Danged if she didn’t have TEN baby teeth hanging around.  Some were pretty loose, having no roots, and others were still pretty firm.  They all needed to come out and make room for the permanent teeth.  Were there more than ten baby teeth hanging on?  I don’t think so; I do think I got them all, but I don’t know for sure.  I need that dental X-ray.

188 thoughts on “Retained Baby Teeth

  1. Mike says:

    I have a 6 month old Chihuahua puppy and I just noticed over the weekend that his permanent teeth are coming in sort of behind his “baby teeth”. I’m taking him to the vet this week to have it looked at, but I have a feeling he’s going to need at least a few teeth pulled. Is this common in small breed dogs? I’ve never heard of it before this.

  2. Doc says:


    This is pretty common. We used to wait until the dog was having some other procedure to take these out. Unfortunately, by that time, the permanent teeth are probably in the wrong place. If those permanent teeth are half-way in and the baby teeth are still feeling solid, those baby teeth should be extracted right away.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. Jillian says:

    I know that with dogs, retained deciduous teeth are a concern around 6-8 months of age. Is the same true with kittens? I’ve been checking my kitten’s teeth every week or so, but it’s been about 10 days since I last looked, and today I noticed his upper adult canines are in about halfway, and the babies haven’t fallen out. He was neutered about 3 weeks ago, so it’s too late have them pulled when that gets done, and I’d hate to have to put him under again this soon just for those two teeth.

  4. Doc says:

    The situation would be similar, but I do not recall ever having seen a cat with retained deciduous teeth. Lowers would be more of a concern than uppers. As the permanent teeth continue to emerge, check for mobility of the baby teeth. If you can wiggle them, I think you’ll not have a problem.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  5. Cherie says:

    Hi Doc
    I have two 6 month old kittens. I have not noticed my female losing any of her teeth but I was checking my males mouth and noticed that both canines adult teeth are growing in but the baby ones haven’t fallen out. The adult ones are barely coming in(I can see them) so will he lose the baby one still? Or should I take him to the vet?

  6. Doc says:

    Hello, Cherie,

    If you can just barely see the tips of the permanent fangs showing, it’s too soon to get worried. If the baby teeth are still present when the permanent fangs get more than halfway in, then you would wish to have those baby teeth extracted.

    Not sure what “halfway” is? You may have to go to your veterinarian in that case, just to check.

    The problem is much less common in cats than in dogs, so you probably won’t have to worry about it.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  7. mike says:

    My toy poodle pup is going on 7 months old, his adult teeth are pretty much out, but his baby teeth are still solid. what should i do?

  8. Doc says:

    Hello, Mike,

    This is not an emergency, but you should make an appointment with your veterinarian to get the retained baby teeth extracted. The sooner this is done, the fewer problems you will have.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  9. Heather says:

    I have a 20 week old boston terrier who is quite small for his age (only about 6 lbs). His ears began curling backward at about 14 weeks of age, and therefore I thought that he had begun teething. (They later restraightened out at about 17 weeks). However, when I took him to my vet about a week ago, she noticed that his BABY teeth (especially the incisors) had completely erupted yet! She also noticed that his adult molars were starting to come in. She was concerned about the fact that his baby teeth hadn’t even fully erupted yet at this age. How likely is it that I may have a puppy who does not have adult teeth under his deciduous teeth? What other dental problems can I expect due to his delayed development?

  10. Doc says:

    Hello, Heather,

    I’m no dental expert. Dental X-rays would be needed to see what’s going on there. With that information, your regular veterinarian would then be able to consult a veterinary dental specialist.

    Your dog may just be a “late bloomer” or there may be significant developmental abnormalities. Sometimes deciduous (baby) teeth need to be extracted early.

    Without dental X-rays, you just won’t know.

    Good luck.

  11. Kathryn says:

    My partner and I have a very outgoing 5 month old male kitten. I found one of his baby teeth on the floor the other day and decided to check out the rest of his teeth.

    When I looked, I noticed he had double canine teeth on the top row of his teeth, on both sides. I was wondering if this will cause him any problems, as both teeth seem to be about the same size. I was also wondering what we should do about this and whether we should act now, or wait a month or two to see if the problem resolves itself?

  12. Doc says:

    Hello, Kathryn,

    The top teeth cause less problems than the bottom canine teeth. If the bottom canine teeth are double, it usually makes the permanent fangs come up into the roof of the mouth.

    With double top fangs, the permanent fang can come in too far forward, leaving less room for the bottom fang. Even if the teeth are meshing together okay, those two teeth being in the space meant for one will accumulate a lot of debris and tartar, causing gum disease that need not take place.

    If the bottom canine teeth are coming in okay without interference, then there is no urgency in dealing with the top teeth. If there is interference, then the retained baby teeth should be extracted as soon as possible to allow the other teeth to find their normal spots.

    If no interference, then I’d watch for a few weeks. Those baby upper canine teeth may go ahead and loosen. If you have double teeth a month from now and the baby tooth isn’t loose at all, it should be extracted by your veterinarian.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  13. Kari says:

    Hi Doc!

    Quick question…
    I had one of my chihuahuas upper canines (baby tooth) removed when she was spayed yesterday. No adult tooth had started to come in, but she has all her others. Is there a chance she might not have an adult tooth come in? And how long will it take to not bother her? Or heal completely? She is 11 months and Im feeding her canned dog food until it seems to feel better. Im giving her baby tylenol for her tummy as well… Thanks so much!!


  14. Doc says:

    Hello, Kari,

    Most permanent teeth erupt by the time the dog is six months old. It is possible that there just is no permanent tooth there, but it may be up under the gums and misdirected. A dental X-ray is the only way to tell.

    After removal of a baby tooth, most dogs will be free of pain in just a few days. By the time you finish treating her post-op pain for the hysterectomy, her tooth will probably be fine, as well.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more help. Talk to your veterinarian about this.

  15. Mom says:

    My vet removed my 6 month old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel’s upper canines when he neutered him last week. They cauterized the gums after extraction. This was on Friday. On Sunday, I noticed that the gum on the left side was eroded and very angry looking. I took him back to the vet the next day and he debrided the area and removed a small bone chip (my regular vet did not do the surgery, an associate did). He said to keep an eye on it and that it should heal pretty rapidly. The gum does seem to be healing but you can see the entire tooth up to where the lip meets the gum line. The gum is entirely gone above 3/4 of he tooth. Will this grow back?

  16. Doc says:

    Hello, “Mom”,

    I have difficulty advising you, in that I cannot see the patient. I am afraid that I may not be accurate in mentally visualizing what you describe.

    If indeed the root of the permanent canine tooth were exposed, you would actually have had to remove bone as well as gum tissue. It seems very unlikely that bone would have been destroyed during the extraction of the baby tooth.

    I would recommend that you have your veterinarian recheck the area in a few days. It is possible that things are not as bad as you fear. Quite frankly, most pet-owners are not used to looking at surgical sites, and often mis-estimate (both better or worse) the severity of the problem.

    If the situation actually IS as bad as you make it sound, it is very possible that some grafting surgery would need to be performed.

    You really need to let your veterinarian re-examine the dog in a few days.

    Good luck.

  17. monica says:

    My yorkie is about 3 yrs old and has a baby tooth ontop of his left botton fang…its loose! Will it fall out by itself? Also its very discolored which really worries me but he doesn’t seem to be in any pain!? Should I just let it fall out?

  18. Doc says:

    Hello, Monica,

    The discoloration could be some tartar accumulation, but since the tooth is loose, it has no root attachment and is dead. This would also cause discoloration.

    The tooth itself is not painful (like a toothache), but since it is loose, when it gets moved around, that probably hurts the gums a little bit.

    If it is obviously loose and moving around, it will probably come out eventually on its own. However, if it has been there for three years, there may be some damage to the gums around the permanent tooth.

    I would advise you to let your veterinarian check out the dog’s mouth.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  19. Jamie says:

    Hello! I was wondering if you could give me some advice. My doxie is over a year old now. She has two canines growing in the same spot- (One baby and one adult) The vet-tech told me not worry about it when I had her spayed, but now she is digging at it and I think it’s causing her a lot of pain!? Should I get her in as soon as possible or is this not a serious matter? Thanks!

  20. Doc says:

    Hello, Jamie,

    I think that the original advice you received is pretty standard, and what most folks would have said ( including me).

    However, since the the dog seems bothered by it, that changes the situation. The dog’s discomfort is the game-changer here.

    I do recommend that you make an appointment to get her mouth checked and get the problem handled.

    Good luck.

  21. Patty says:

    Our 6 month old cat was neutered today. When I picked him up the vet showed me where his LOWER canines are growing into his upper jaws. He referred me to a specialist in a neighboring state. I am very anxious. Will the problem be correctable and will I be able to afford the procedures. The first office visit will be $135. Has anyone ever heard of this? I would some insight.

  22. Doc says:

    Hello, Patty,

    I have not seen this in cats. It is not uncommon in dogs. Many dogs (especially toy breeds) fail to shed the deciduous (“baby”) canine teeth. They occupy the space needed by the permanent teeth, forcing the permanent teeth to come in at a wrong angle. This can cause the lower canines to come up into the roof of the mouth, rather than out into the groove between the upper canine teeth and out incisor teeth, where they belong.

    With the help of a dental specialist’s advice, I have successfully (on ONE dog) created an acrylic plate across the roof of the mouth. A wedge shape was part of the plate. As the dog closed his mouth, the wedge would force his canine teeth toward the place they needed to be. This is much less complicated than “braces”, but is still a pretty big deal.

    As the teeth began to move, I would have to reshape the plate to keep them moving to where they needed to go. This would involve light anesthesia while I added acrylic, or removed it with a dremel tool.

    If you don’t get this fixed those teeth poke him in the roof of the mouth, which is constantly painful. The teeth could be extracted, I suppose, but I would follow the advice of the dental specialist.

    Good luck.

  23. Patty says:

    Thank you for your quick response and for sharing you expertise. Yogi’s lower canines are actually poking into his upper gums. I asked about extracting the lower canines and my vet is concerned about it being a complex procedure which could possibly result in breaking the lower jaw. He also mentioned doing a pulp….? I will post again as soon as I learn more. Again, thank you for your post.

  24. Patty says:

    We went to a veterinary dental specialist today to have Yogi evaluated. Yogi will have surgery next Wednesday. The least invasive solution will be to cut away part of the upper gum. As the gum heals, it will accommodate his misplaced lower canines. The other two procedures both require two surgeries. One adds a temporary “cap” that extends the canine teeth and will help them clear the gum area. The last alternative will be to break off the teeth and fill them. Number three does not sound like a good alternative to me (too much chance for infection, lost fillings, etc.)

    Anyhow, your site is a huge blessing. Most of my friends think I am crazy to spend this much money on “a cat” but not only does he bring joy to our lives, he is our responsibility and deserves to live a quality life free of mouth pain.

  25. Patty says:

    Yogi’s surgery was successfully completed yesterday. The doctor was able to cut out enough upper gum tissue on both sides of his mouth to make room for the misplaced lower canines. The doctor told me that everything fits. (Yogi hasn’t let me peek inside his mouth long enough to see how his teeth fit, but I will try this afternoon during his nap time.)

    Again, I want to thank you for creating this site. I have been quite stressed over this whole dental issue and your input helped significantly as we waited.

  26. Doc says:

    Hello, Patty,

    Thanks for the update. I’m glad to hear that Yogi is doing well, and also glad that you feel I was helpful to you.

    Best wishes.

  27. Mary says:

    My 7 month old german shepherd puppy has all her adult teeth in. However, she has two incisors on the bottom middle that seem smaller then the rest.
    Will these grow in proportion or could there be a problem.


  28. Doc says:

    Hello, Mary,
    Once the teeth are erupted, they don’t really grow in size. They just finish growing/erupting all the way into the mouth, above the gum-line. They aren’t going to get any bigger in diameter.

    I am concerned that these may be deciduous incisors that failed to shed. I would recommend that you let your veterinarian take a quick look at the dog’s mouth. Dental radiographs may be necessary to determine if these are preventing the permanent teeth from erupting.

    Good luck.

  29. Linelle Lane says:

    My 5-mo. old kitten has shark mouth: upper baby fangs + adult fangs side by side. When I read this, I freaked out and called the vet. They told me not to worry and if the baby teeth hadn’t come out by 7-8 months, they should be extracted.

  30. Doc says:

    Hello, Linelle,

    No need to freak out. The biggest problem is if the lower fangs appear to be heading toward the roof of the mouth instead of the groove between the teeth where they belong.

    At five months, they may still come out on their own.

    Do watch to see where those bottom canine teeth are headed.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  31. Toni says:


    My 2year old yorkie x pomeranian still has 2 of her baby fangs (she did have a third until a few weeks ago but my partner knocked it and loosened it by accident) her breath smells terrible and between the adult teeth and the baby teeth she gets a sort of rank smelling grey almost fabric type goop, I do brush her teeth but it still gathers and her breath seems to smell worse than ever! Do you think this is due to these remaining baby teeth and should I have my vet take a look at them

  32. Doc says:

    Hello, Toni,

    When those baby teeth are not shed, you have two teeth occupying the space of one. They are very close together and catch a lot of crud.

    This will eventually produce significant gum disease, in addition to the odor.

    Those baby teeth should be extracted by your veterinarian, and the other teeth checked for plaque and tartar under the gum-line.

    The longer you wait, the more chance that there will be damage to the permanent teeth in their attachment to the gums.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  33. Toni says:

    Hi Doc,

    Thanx for such a quick reply, I will call my vet tomorrow and arrange to have Flossy looked at (I’m in the UK so it ‘s too late to call him now) I will keep you updated!

  34. Rose says:

    My Malichon has two sets of lower canine teeth both baby teeth have retained on the bottom, He is 6 months old and Im not sure if they will come out on there own or not. What should I do? Should I wait to see if the will fall out or should I take him to his Vet?

  35. Doc says:

    Hello, Rose,

    If these teeth do not feel loose, then I would recommend removal. Leaving them in place can cause the permanent teeth to erupt in such a way that they wind up bumping other teeth or the roof of the mouth. This is constantly painful.

    See your veterinarian.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  36. Beyerbabe2992 says:

    Hi! I have an almost 7 month old kitten. I am almost positive her baby teeth have never fallen out, but it doesn’t look like her teeth are needing to fall out. Is there any way to really tell if they are their baby teeth? (And she was not happy when I was checking her mouth a minute ago. I have a wonderful bite on my finger now.)

    Also, I have an almost 6 month old chihuahua puppy, and we have started calling him shark dog because he has so many double teeth. Do you have any advice about this? It would be much appreciated.

    Thank you so much!

  37. Doc says:

    Hello, Tia,

    If you don’t see any doubling of teeth in the kitten, then you don’t need to worry about it.

    In the shark dog, having those baby teeth on top of the permanent teeth causes a lot of crud to get caught. If you don’t have the teeth bumping into one another (and being painful), you will get premature gum disease because of all the debris that gets caught.

    Those baby teeth should be extracted. If you’re planning on having him neutered, that could probably be done under the same anesthetic, depending on how many they are.

    Talk to your veterinarian about this. It’s not harmless.

  38. Nancy Owens says:

    Hi Doc, I love this web site!
    I sold a pup with narrow canine jaw, my vet didn’t catch it on the exam, and owners vet said to pull the baby teeth. Is this the best thing to do? And can I call around and get prices for the job to save some money or do I need a specialist?

  39. Doc says:

    Hello, Nancy,
    I’m not such an expert that I can make that call without seeing the pet.

    Generally speaking, if the permanent tooth is erupting, the baby tooth needs to come out. You should not have two teeth in one spot.

    Extraction of the baby teeth should not require a dental specialist.

    If the pet is so young (less than four months) that no permanent teeth should be erupting yet, then I would seek some more information as to the necessity of extracting teeth at this point.

    I really cannot give you more specific advice in my ignorance of the data, and without seeing the dog.

    I hope this is helpful to you.

  40. Gilbert says:

    Hi doc, i just took my 7week old stander poodle to the vet for his first set of vaccine and the veterinary noticed his bottom fangs were growing into his roof of his mouth.the doc said this is really serious, all i was thinking was $$$$ how much is going to cost me now. Can u you tell me is this a serious problem im facing and is it going to be expansive? Thank u

  41. Sue says:

    Hi Doc,

    My mini schnauzer is approx 6.5-7.5 months old. It appears all of his adult teeth are in. Many of his baby teeth were slow to come out, but they all have except for one. It is on the top and is inside of the second molar from the back. It dangles and kind of hangs and rubs against the corresponding molar. It’s discolored and smelly. Will I probably need to have this removed surgically or might it still fall out on its own? I wiggle it daily but nothing improves.


  42. Doc says:

    Hello, Sue,

    It is always difficult to make an accurate assessment without seeing the pet.

    From your description, it sounds like the remains of the baby tooth crown are still sort of stuck to the gums, even though the roots have dissolved and are now gone.

    It will probably fall out on its own before too long. You can keep wiggling it if the dog doesn’t mind too much.

    If it just keeps hanging there, let your veterinarian take a look at it.

  43. Karen says:

    My 5 month old border terrier jumped up and knocked one of his incisors (I think, it’s the tooth just in front of his biggest fang) this morning. I’m pretty sure that it was an adult tooth, but we couldn’t find it. It wasn’t such a hard knock -he was jumping up to say hello and his tooth banged my tooth- mine was sore but no blood, however he was bleeding. If it was an adult tooth, can anything be done?
    Many thanks!

  44. Doc says:

    Hello, Karen,

    That must have been one heck of a knock.

    Your veterinarian should be able to tell you if the remaining teeth are baby teeth or permanent teeth (as we would expect at that age). That would be one way to tell what type of tooth was lost.

    If you cannot find the tooth, then we don’t know if it was knocked out or broken off (and of course, you can’t re-implant it if you can’t find it – re-implantation is pretty iffy anyway, unless the tooth is carefully handled and the procedure done right away).

    If knocked completely out, the gums will heal, even if not sutured (though faster if sutured). If broken off, the root needs to be extracted.

    No way to tell without a dental X-ray, so that’s what is needed. Not an emergency, but should be handled as soon as it is practical.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  45. elizabeth says:

    My kitten is about 3 or 4 months old. It’s hard to tell as I found her in a back alley when she was around 5-8 weeks old. Her adult bottom fang has seemed to grow in now, but I’ve just noticed that her baby fang is now sitting to the side of her gums. It’s not in the way of the adult fang and it doesn’t bother her. I can’t tell if its loose cause she doesn’t like her mouth being touched as any cat doesn’t. I have an apointment with the vet on Sept 17 for her vaccines. Do you think it’ll fall out? Since she is only about 3-4 months still?

  46. elizabeth says:

    Hello, this is an edit to the above. The bottom baby fang fell out but I just checked all her other teeth and noticed the baby upper fang is still there next to the adult fang. Should I just wait it out?

  47. Doc says:

    Hello, Elizabeth,

    I believe I would wait on it, if the teeth appear to be in normal alignment. I have never seen a cat with retained baby teeth (very common in toy breed dogs). It will probably fall out like the bottom one did. If not, it can be extracted later. The top one doesn’t cause nearly the problems that the bottom one does.

    Thanks for reading and writing.

  48. Detra'na Brown says:

    My cat broke his tooth but it hasn’t fallen out yet it jus sticks out and its really loose I can move and wiggle it he’s still playing and chewing on things but it hasn’t came out. So can I pull it out? Or what should I do?? I need help!!

  49. Doc says:

    Hello, Detra’na,

    If it is so loose that the cat would let you pull it out, that would probably be okay. I am worried that if you try this you may get bitten, as it may hurt the cat when you try.

    I am concerned that there will be part of the tooth root still in his gums. That will need to be removed, as it would be very likely to abscess later.

    If you do get the tooth out, save it so that your veterinarian can see it. He/she may be able to tell if the whole tooth came out.

    This will need some attention from your veterinarian

  50. poi says:

    Hi, I have a 1 year old chihuahua, and her adult teeth are in but still have some baby teeth in. The top is a clear two sets of teeth (adult and baby in front) the baby teeths are shrinking, will they fall out on their own or will I need to take her asap to a vet? As for her bottom, there are a few baby teeth but they look like crowded. I’m getting worried, as I didnt pull it out when she got spayed only because she had over 10 baby teeth at top, and 10 at bottom. So I waited, and some has fallen out on their own but not all. With all this said, my friend who has my puppys father, she said the father’s baby teeth did not all fall out until about 14 months. And his teeth are fine. Should I wait?

  51. Doc says:

    Hello, Poi,

    If they feel loose and wiggly, then they will probably come out. Most of the time (despite your friend’s experience), if they haven’t come out on their own by now, they are unlikely to do so.

    When they are all doubled up like that, they catch a lot of junk and cause gum disease. You really could be compromising the long term health health of her permanent teeth.

    I would have them extracted. With the exception of the fangs, the rest of them have pretty small roots, so it should be a relatively quick procedure with rapid healing.

  52. poi says:

    Thanks for your quick response Doc. Majority of her baby teeth are loose, and some are shrinking. I will be taking your advice and going to take them out! thanks!

  53. Tonnie Bland says:

    My 7 month old Norwich male lost a lower tooth nect to his canine today. The tooth was small and may have been a baby tooth. I do not see an adult tooth coming in. Could an adult tooth still come in?

  54. Doc says:

    Hello, Tonnie,

    Sometimes there is no adult tooth developing, which would be a birth defect.

    Sometimes it is there, but just doesn’t come in. I would be surprised if it erupted later than this.

    Also, it is possible that there isn’t supposed to be a tooth there. Not seeing the dog’s mouth, it is hard to say.

    Your veterinarian can examine the mouth, and even take dental X-rays if needed to see what the situation is. Sometimes you really cannot tell without an X-ray.

  55. Anna says:

    Hi, I have a 5yr old Yorkie and I found a small molar in my bed last night. I can’t see anything out of the ordinardy in her mouth and she appears to have all of her teeth. When she was about 6months old she had doubles of all her fang teeth that I had pulled right away. Could this be a late permanent tooth?

  56. Doc says:

    The two things that are most likely are: gum disease has loosened a permanent tooth and it fell out, OR there was another retained baby tooth that finally fell out on its own.

    I would recommend that you ask your veterinarian to examine your dog’s mouth. If she has gum disease, you want to get it handled as soon as you can so that you don’t lose more teeth.

    Also, if there is that kind of gum disease, it affects the whole body health status of the animal. It’s not dramatic, but it is a constant drag on the system.

  57. brittany says:

    hi I almost a 8 month old cat and just noticed the other day hes eating kinda funny. he wouldnt eat much of the dry cat food he would stop after couple bites so I got him canned foods and he ate alot more but he still looks like hes chewing little funny.could this be because hes growing in his adult teeth yet?

  58. Doc says:

    Hello, Brittany,

    At 8 months of age, all of the permanent teeth should be in already.

    You should let your veterinarian examine your cat’s mouth. He could have a damaged tooth, or have something lodged in his cheek.

    Good luck.

  59. Angie says:

    Hello. I have a 6-month-old yorkie, and I’ve noticed that his adult teeth are growing in while he still has baby teeth. The baby teeth are mostly in the front of his mouth, but it looks like they’re making his adult teeth grow in crooked. A few of them are wobbly, so I was wondering if I should wait a few more weeks or if I should take him to the vet.

  60. Doc says:

    Hello, Angie,

    It would be good to let your veterinarian evaluate him. The baby incisors (the tiny teeth across the front) won’t be much of a problem. The baby fangs need to come out. They can cause the permanent teeth to malocclude, causing pain, growing into the roof of the mouth, and so forth.

  61. Doc says:

    Hello, Elizabeth,

    If the puppy teeth are crooked, there may not be enough room for all of them. If so, then there is unlikely to be room for all the permanent teeth when they come in.

    While we don’t routinely extract these permanent teeth early on, if they are all crowded up and turned crooked, they usually are lost to gum disease later in life. Many of these dogs are “flat faced” and their jaws just aren’t long enough for all those teeth. A normal dog (wolf type) has a long, skinny nose, not a short flat one.

  62. Jacqueline says:


    My 8 month chihuahua Tia has Retained deciduous teeth & her adult teeth are all in fully grown (all four fangs).

    I have called my vet & booked her in for next week, but I am a nervous wreck. Shes 4 1/2lbs in weight & im worried about her going under.

    My 16 year old rescued shihtzu has had problems all her life & had to have all but 4 removed, & been in a terrible state with hers.

    I guess Im just looking for a bit of reasurance, as shes my baby x

  63. Doc says:

    Hello, Jacqueline,

    I can appreciate your fears about anesthesia. We all have them. If anesthetic were good for you, you wouldn’t lose consciousness.

    The procedure is relatively short, even with all four baby teeth to remove. Usually around five minutes or so per tooth is required.

    The anesthetic can be pretty light if we block the nerves to the area with local anesthetic. That numbness controls the pain.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with anesthesia just because she is small. With all our patients we would just have to monitor her carefully while she is under.

  64. Jamie says:

    I have a 8 month old Pomeranian and she has retained her 2 top fangs. We went to the vet today and I asked about them (not her appt) and they suggested pulling them. They are more clear and discolored then her adult fangs and I was wondering is it still possible they will fall out on their own. They are not loose at all but are discolored a little like they might be dying. Should I try and wiggle them and see if I can get them to loosen. I hate to put her under if I can avoid it.

    Everything is lining up ok so no discomfort as far as I can tell.

  65. Doc says:

    Hello, Jamie,

    If they do not feel loose at all, they probably still have their entire root. The root is twice the size of the tooth you can see. You are unlikely to be able to “wiggle them loose”. You might break them off, making extraction of the root rather more complicated.

    The anesthesia will not have to be very deep, and the procedure will be pretty short.

    If you don’t do this now, you can be sure that where these two teeth are jammed so close together that they will accumulate a lot of crud.

    You can wait until she needs her teeth cleaned later in life, but you may have some irreversible changes around the permanent teeth if you do.

    If you are planning on having her spayed, the teeth could be extracted at that time while she is already under.

  66. Vanessa says:


    I have a 5 month old kitten and I just discovered retention of the deciduous canines in the mandible. The deciduous teeth are wiggly and there is redness around the gums indicating they might come out on their own. The adult teeth are halfway in already. Should I wait a couple of days to see if the deciduous teeth come out on their own? If the teeth do come out on their own, how likely is it that the adult teeth will correct themselves?

  67. doc says:

    Hello, Vanessa,

    If they are wiggly, they will come out on their own.

    If they felt solid, immovable, that would be a different story, and I would have them extracted at this point.

    Since they are wiggly, I predict they will be out in a day or so.

  68. joanne says:

    Since he’s been teething, I routinely check my mixed-breed puppy’s mouth. All has been well – baby teeth disappearing and adult teeth coming through the gums practically overnight. Today I suddenly noticed what looks like another tooth ready to pop through the gum – only it’s not the gum – it’s toward the center of the roof of his mouth, behind his front teeth! He already got his adult front teeth, first, in fact. I’ve heard of this in humans, but dogs? He is probably a shih tzu mix, with something a bit larger – he’s about 20 lbs. has a regular (wolf-type, as you put it), slightly upturned nose and an underbite. He wasn’t due to go back to the vet for almost a year. Our rather pricey vet has a dental vet specialist who cleans teeth, etc., so I’ll take him in, of course, when whatever this is grows in, probably in a day or two. Just wondering if you’ve seen this before and how extensive the surgery would be.

  69. doc says:

    Hello, Joanne,

    If the teeth have come in the wrong spot, several things are possible. One is that they won’t be so close together that they catch junk, and that they won’t bump other teeth. Then it’s a big “so what?”.

    If they are doing either one of those things, then the tooth will probably need to be extracted. Not a huge deal.

    Good luck.

  70. joanne says:

    Thanks for the reassuring advice. I usually don’t panic but my husband also thought it look like a tooth. Today it’s looking less white, so less like a tooth ready to erupt. I’m now hopeful that it’s just a normal part of the ridge behind the teeth in the roof of the mouth that just got bigger all of a sudden (everything on this puppy gets bigger every day!) – I guess time will tell.

  71. doc says:

    Hello, Joannae,

    If it’s a fleshy bump in the center, just behind his little middle front teeth (the incisors), it is probably the incisive papilla, a normal structure.

    What’s it for? Don’t know.

  72. joanne says:

    Just looked again to make sure and now I’m positive that’s what it is! Never noticed it when the teeth were coming in, in any other dogs I’ve had – but my last two have been Irish Wolfhounds and it was probably a lot smaller in relation to the rest of their mouths. In this little guy it looked big compared to his front incisors. Thank you again so much – you’ve saved me much worry. Btw, this is a great site – very informative, informal and interesting.

  73. Cheekees says:

    Hello, I have a white miniature Schnauzer puppy who was born July 25, 2014 – Should I be concerned he don’t have his incisor teeth and only has two of his top canines? I keep reading that the incisors are the first to grow. Could there be something wrong with my puppy?

  74. Doc says:

    Hello, Cheekees,

    That would make him about six weeks old, when the puppy normally would have a full set of baby teeth erupted.

    Some puppies (especially toy breeds) are late bloomers.

    I wouldn’t get too upset at this point. Give him another couple of weeks.

    He should be seeing his veterinarian for his first vaccinations soon (after weaning, six to eight weeks of age). Let your doctor check him over.

  75. Jolie says:

    I have a teacup Chihuahua that will be 1 in a week and her top fangs on her left side haven’t come back in. She eats fine but should I be worried?

  76. Doc says:

    Hello, Jolie,

    I wouldn’t really be worried about this. Sometimes there is no tooth there, and sometimes it is impacted and not erupting through the gums like it should.

    You cannot tell which without a dental X-ray, which requires anesthesia (just because they won’t hold still with a film in their mouth otherwise).

    If she feels okay, I wouldn’t be worried.

  77. Keira Connor says:

    I have a multi poo about 7 months old, all her teeth are in except 1/2 of her bottom teeth are missing. Could they come in later?

  78. Doc says:

    Hello, Keira,

    Toy breeds are often “late bloomers”. They could definitely come in later.

    It is also possible that some of her teeth just haven’t developed. If they don’t come in over the next few months, then a dental X-ray would tell you what is going on.

  79. Kerry says:

    I’m sure you have gone over this before, but my 4 year old Chihuahua has a tendency to chew/suck on my fingers. Today I noticed his bottom right tooth was missing. He still keeps trying to nibble on my fingers though I’m keeping them from him due to germs. Should I be worried more and take him to the vet? He is still eating and acting normal, but I don’t know of his comfort level.

  80. Doc says:

    Hello, Kerry,

    I think the most important thing would be a good check-up to determine whether there are other loose or damaged teeth that need help.

  81. Destinee says:

    Hi,I have a yorkie-poo that’s almost 7 months old. It’s been about a month since I’ve noticed his adult teeth have fully grown in with his 4 baby fangs still there. The other day he was playing and his rope pulled one of them loose and it fell out within hours because he kept licking at it. So now he has 3 retained teeth instead of 4. The tooth that fell out doesn’t look like it’s broken and also that part of his mouth doesn’t seem to be infected, but is there anything I should worry about? I’m planning to have him nuetered and to get the other three pulled out at the same time as soon as possible. Also, I’ve looked on many websites and they’ve explained everything well, but I haven’t been able to find anything helpful about what current symptoms puppies face because of retained teeth. Like if they chew more, have trouble eating, and how it affects their mood, behavior, and habits. Any information you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

  82. Doc says:

    Hello, Destinee,

    The bottom baby canine teeth can cause the permanent teeth to go up toward the roof of the mouth, rather than out into the grooves where they belong between the upper teeth.

    When those begin to impact the roof of the mouth, it is painful.

    The upper teeth tend mostly to catch a lot of junk because the teeth are too close together.

    You really should have them extracted.

  83. Destinee says:

    Thanks for your advice. I’m going to try to get them removed as soon as possible. Do retained teeth cause puppies to chew more than when they are just teething? He chews all the time and and likes to chew on people’s fingers even when he’s just being petted. How does it affect mood, behavior, and habits?

  84. Doc says:

    Hello, Destinee,

    I doubt that the teeth have any bearing on the dog’s behavior, etc.

    You really shouldn’t allow the dog to put his mouth on your body or clothing. Licking is okay, but not the mouthing. That “I’m not really biting you” stuff is no good.

  85. David T. says:


    Our Yorkie, age 1 1/2, has a retained deciduous canine right behind her adult canine in the upper left jaw. I’ve kept the “food trap” between them very clean. Vet never suggested it was an emergency and figured that down the road there will be a time she will actually need to have a dental/ clean and could have an extraction done at that time.

    Much to my surprise – over the last few days the deciduous tooth (behind the adult tooth) – changed color, started wobbling, and now looks like it’s just hanging on by a tiny bit of skin. (There’s also just a little bit of blood.)

    Our dog has absolutely zero discomfort with the tooth as far as I can tell – lets me touch it, no prob eating, etc.

    I have a call in to our vets and waiting to see if she wants me to bring our Yorkie in – but it sounded like this wasn’t an obvious emergency for them so I’m waiting to hear back.

    In any case, my question – how common/ uncommon is it for a retained deciduous tooth to fall out this late (age 1 1/2 years!)? Have we lucked out and avoided an extraction? (This is her only retained baby tooth).

    Thanks! I enjoy your website!

  86. Phil says:

    Hi! I’ve got a five year old beagle basset mix, and it looks like she still has her baby teeth n back, and the adult teeth are trying to push their way up. We sort of discovered this when she refused to eat anything “hard”. We live in Mexico, and finding a vet who knows anything about this is difficult.

  87. Doc says:

    Hello, David,

    You’re right, it is unusual for it to come out on its own after that length of time.

    On the other hand, I doubt that it will be a problem. It is certainly not an emergency.

    Your veterinarian is the person best equipped to advise you about your dog. I suspect that no action will be needed, though.

  88. Doc says:

    Hello, Phil,

    You may be describing this accurately, but it’s hard for me to visualize.

    It’s hard for me to believe that a five-years-old dog is suddenly having trouble with teeth coming in. I would be much more concerned that something else is going on, possibly a broken tooth.

    Sorry I can’t do a long-distance remedy for you.

  89. Maz ford says:

    Hello, we have a 10 month old Working Lakeland cross JRT, I have spoken to our vet twice now regarding his baby tooth that is still present with his adult tooth in front of it. They said it was fine and not to worry. He has just been in under a general anaesthetic for a lump removal off his back leg, so they could have done it then as he was under. It’s not very fair on the little man going under again, is it likely to come out on its own now or do you think it will need removing?

  90. Doc says:

    Hello, Maz,

    You don’t say which tooth it is. The biggest problem with an upper tooth would be just catching a lot of dirt because the teeth are so close together, and this does lead to gum disease.

    A bottom baby canine tooth (fang) can make the permanent fang come up in the wrong place and be painful.

    If it has not come out by 10 months, it probably won’t come out on its own. The teeth will need cleaning at some point, and it can be extracted then.

    I don’t know how long the patient was anesthetized for the other procedure, or what other factors may have been involved, so I cannot say whether that would have been a good time to extract the tooth.

  91. Callie says:

    Hello , my dog is 5 yeas old and her teeth has not fallen out before . Today , we got hit on the jaw and one of her teeth fell out . The teeth was already shaking . Will it still grow ?

  92. Callie says:

    My dogs lower jaw is out and the upper jaw is inside of the lower jaw . Is this normal ? Or is this because she has not shed any teeth

  93. Doc says:

    Hello, Callie,
    At five years of age, I would not expect any teeth to start growing or changing in position.

    If the tooth was loose, it could have been a baby tooth that should have come out long ago.

    If there is gum disease, a permanent tooth can loosen and fall out.

    The worst thing is when a tooth is broken, leaving the roots there, as these can abscess, which is very painful. If a tooth is broken, it should be removed.

  94. Doc says:

    Hello, Callie,
    Some dogs just have an underbite. It doesn’t have anything to do with when their teeth come in. It’s just the way they are made.

  95. Gary logan says:

    My ten month old chihuahua has not lost any of his baby teeth and the dentist wants me to book him in to have them all removed. However, he said she said she doesn’t know if he has any adult teeth underneath to replace them so he may end up with no teeth at all. Is it normal for him to have not lost his baby teeth and what do I do if he has no adult teeth to replace his baby teeth?

  96. Doc says:

    Hello, Gary,

    It is not normal to still have baby teeth at 10 months of age.

    I would expect a veterinary dentist to take mouth x-rays to determine if there are permanent teeth underneath. If none are present, she will probably not extract those particular baby teeth. It is where the teeth are doubled up that the retained baby teeth cause problems.

    Fortunately, dogs eating prepared dog food (instead of hunting)don’t really have to chew their food. They can still eat okay even if they don’t have all their teeth.

  97. bev says:

    Hello my pitbull pup was born on October 25 she has about 3 baby teeth in front of other teeth that just came in should I give them time or take her on to the vet? Thank you

  98. Doc says:

    Hello, Bev,

    Check them to see if they are loose. If they don’t loosen up in a few weeks, they should be extracted. The ones that cause the most difficulty are the fangs, especially the lower ones.

    If the baby fangs (canine teeth) have not shed by the time the permanent ones are halfway in, I would definitely get those extracted.

  99. Lola says:

    I have a 7month old 4.3lb chihuahua who has 3 canine baby teeth that need to be extracted. The vet told me it will be a one and one half (1.5) hour pricedure and $300 hundred in addition to her spey fee. Does that sound right to you? Please advise me!

  100. Brandon says:

    Hey i have a 5 month old red/blue nose pitbull and both bottom fangs are doubled. this just started happening a week and a half ago but im starting to notice that the baby teeth are loosening. One a little more than the other .. also it causes a little pain for her to bite down on the looser right fang. Is it possible for the loose teeth to still fall out over time?

  101. Doc says:

    Hello, Lola,

    I really don’t know what the going rate is in your area. Different locales have huge differences in costs of operation. California is much different than rural Missouri, where I practice, for instance.

    If you feel that the cost is excessive, call some other doctors in your area. I must admit it does sound like a lot to me.

    When you compare prices, be sure that you are comparing “apples to apples”. One doctor may be including X-rays and pain medications in the estimate,while another does not.

  102. Doc says:

    Hello, Brandon,

    If the teeth are loose enough to wiggle around, they will come out. If they feel very firm, I would be more concerned, especially with the bottom fangs. If they don’t come out very soon, the permanent fangs can come up more toward the roof of the mouth, which is a problem.

    If the permanent fangs get more than halfway in, and the baby fangs are still feeling solid, you need to have the baby fangs extracted.

  103. ES says:

    Hi there,

    I have a toy poodle x mini foxy and he is 5 months old. He has had very bad breath the last few days since we have him a Bow Wow BeefRooRoll. It has gotten better since yesterday but today one of his baby teeth fell out and it was a little discoloured and smelled like the bad breath he has had.
    Is this normal? Or should we get his teeth/mouth looked at? Thank you!

  104. Doc says:

    Hello, ES,

    The roots of the baby teeth are supposed to dissolve, and they are supposed to fall out as the permanent teeth begin to erupt (come in). It’s not usually stinky, though. I think it would be good to get your veterinarian to take a quick look.

  105. cassandra says:

    I have a 6 month old yorkie and she has only lost 1 baby tooth yet that have been loose for almost a month. She has adult teeth coming in and it seems to be pushing her baby teeth all over her mouth :(. I’m wondering if this might have anything to do with her being so small? She was supposed to be standard size but is only about 2.8 lbs. I’m also curious what the extraction procedure typically costs

  106. Doc says:

    Hello, Cassandra,

    The situation you describe is one that should have attention from your veterinarian as quickly as possible.

    This crowding of the teeth is usually more of a problem in toy breeds, but could occur in any size dog.

    Those baby teeth should be extracted as soon as you can so that the permanent teeth have a place to be, and don’t wind up pushing into the roof of her mouth, which is painful.

    I really couldn’t tell you what the procedure would cost, as it varies so much from one area of the country to another.

  107. cassandra says:

    Hello, my 24.5 week old puppy, who is 1/2 bichon, 1/4 yorkie, and 1/4 maltese, is having tweth issues i believe. He has been continuously teething. He was the runt of the litter. When we got him he was only 2.4 lbs, we finally got him to a healthy 8.4 lbs over the last couple months. He as lost his upper puupy teeth and a few days later his adult teeth pop through but his bottom puppy teeth he has lost atleat a week or so ago had yet to get replaced. He is starting to be finicky with his food, he has stopped eating his normal 1 cup of food a day to 1/2 – 3/4 cup of food a day. Is this normal? Is the bottom teeth taking so long to come in because he was a runt and a little slower in developing?

  108. Doc says:

    Hello, Cassandra,

    We usually have more problems when the baby teeth are staying in too long and preventing the permanent teeth from erupting.

    Toy breeds in general are often slow in their tooth development, and what you describe doesn’t sound like much of a problem.

    If he isn’t feeling as well as he should, you should let your veterinarian examine him.

    This could be something other than his teeth.

    Your doctor can also help you evaluate whether the mouth is doing okay.

  109. Alice Riley says:

    My 16 week old puppy has a small black ulser where one of her adult teeth are supposed to be its hard and she doesn’t seem to be in any sort of pain please reply as soon as possible,

    Thank you.

  110. Doc says:

    Hello, Alice,
    Sorry about the delay, but I’ve been in Africa.

    I would suspect that the spot is where the baby tooth came out, and the permanent tooth had not yet come in.

    This is the sort of the thing that is a bit hard to sort out without seeing the dog. Some dental situations cannot be diagnosed without X-rays.

  111. Betty says:

    Hi, I have an almost 11 month old JRT/Mountain Feist mix who still appears to be teething. She has 1 tooth on top left still under the skin, then on the bottom (both left and right sides) there are 3 teeth on each side that have just cut through the gums. We keep plenty of teething toys to help her with the discomfort and trying to get them in. I just think its strange for her to still be cutting teeth at this age. Her yearly vet visit is in Aug, but I assume the teeth will be all in by that time. Do you think I need to take her in early to have the “late blooming” teeth checked out?

  112. Doc says:

    Hello, Betty,

    Yes, most dogs have finished teething by the time they are six months old.

    If these teeth are doing that, you almost certainly have some baby teeth interfering with the permanent teeth.

    You could wind up with a lot of teeth coming in such a way that they bang into one another and cause pain.

    I would recommend that you visit your veterinarian as soon as you can work it in.

  113. Tara Dwyer says:

    Hi! Thanks for your post. My 4 year old Yorkie-Poodle mix has a canine tooth that is brown 1/2 way down from the root and is quite loose. The tooth next to it is also a little brown near the top. She was a year old when we rescued her from the Humane Society and I have no idea about her baby teeth. I’m so scared this is a very painful cavity and an adult tooth is coming out but it doesn’t seem likely to me bc she eats hard food only along with hard dental bones (though I do give her sweet people treats like hard peppermint candies sometimes) I’m just wondering what your opinion is. I do need to get her to the vet, money is very low this month but hopefully in a couple weeks it will be better. I’m so worried about her being in a lot of pain.

  114. Doc says:

    Hello, Tara,

    If this is a permanent canine tooth and it is loose, that means broken root or broken bone around the socket.

    Brown deposits on the outside of the tooth are usually tartar. Tartar (also called calculus) builds up on the crown of the tooth, and underneath the gum-line. Underneath the gum-line it will gradually erode the tooth’s attachment to the gums and bone. This is why we do professional cleaning of the teeth under sedation. You have to clean thoroughly under the gum-line to really do any good.

    Teeth that are slightly tan may just be stained. A tooth that looks purple or red has damaged pulp and needs treatment, either extraction or root canal.

    Loose teeth are painful because any time that they are moved, it’s kind of like running on a sprained ankle.

    Dogs learn to eat around this problem, avoiding the damaged tooth most of the time. That doesn’t mean the tooth doesn’t hurt.

    Dogs use the canine teeth to catch prey, not to chew with. They chew on their back teeth.

    Avoid any treat or chew-tow hard enough that you wouldn’t want to hit yourself in the kneecap with it.

    As soon as you can get things together, your dog should see her veterinarian about this.

  115. Tara Dwyer says:

    Thank you for your answer. What do you think the chances are that this is a baby tooth that never came out? It is definitely rotted and quite loose. My poor baby, I feel just horrible for her. I guess I always thought teeth issues were an older dog issue and it never even occurred to me that my 4 yr old dog could have something like this so I never really checked her teeth very often. I feel terrible poor baby. Thanks for your advice.

  116. Doc says:

    Hello, Tara,
    It is certainly possible that this is an old baby tooth. You just need to let your dog’s doctor take a look at it.

  117. Bernie says:

    My 14 week old Border Terriers lower canines seem to be growing towards her upper gum. The vet has mentioned taking them out soon. Will her adult teeth do the same?

  118. Doc says:

    Hello, Bernie,

    That is difficult to predict. Getting the baby teeth out of the way could make proper eruption of the permanent teeth more likely.

    You should really discuss this with the doctor who is actually seeing your dog.

  119. Doc says:

    Hello, Rupam,

    It is not common, but doesn’t suggest any particular disease to me. Possibly staining from chewing on something?

  120. Heather says:

    Hi, my golden/lab mix is about 10 months old. She has lost one of the four “baby” canines she was carrying with her adult teeth. She had a couple of other medical issues that we were taking care of and the vet didn’t seem to be in a rush to take them out. She chews EVERYTHING up. Even stronger toys she has demolished leaving her interested in non- toy things until i can get her more. Are the teeth the likely reason for the excessive chewing?

  121. doc says:

    Hello, Heather,

    You wish. No, I’m afraid the excessive chewing is puppy behavior. She needs to have acceptable chew toys, and restricted access and supervision in regard to everything else.

    If the retained baby teeth have not caused mal-alignment of the permanent teeth, then their extraction can wait until the dog is sedated for teeth-cleaning. With those teeth doubled up, they will accumulate tartar a lot faster than otherwise.

  122. Bev Leighton says:

    Hi, I have a cavalier king Charles puppy who will be 6 months old next week. He was neutered 2 weeks ago and at that time my vet said she didn’t want to mess with anything due to his age. His upper canine teeth are fully in and he has one baby canine left that isn’t budging. How long should I wait before I address it with my vet? Thank you.

  123. Doc says:

    Hello, Bev,
    This really depends on whether the retained baby tooth is affecting the position of the other teeth, or just crowded in so that it will collect a lot of extra debris.

    Just give your veterinarian a call and let her know what’s happening with your dog’s mouth. Talk it over with your veterinarian.

  124. David Hundert says:

    Hi there, my boxer “Daisy” is 14 months old and while playing tug of war with her, she started bleeding from her mouth. That’s when I noticed she’s missing one of her lower canine teeth. Isn’t this a bit old to be losing a tooth?

  125. Doc says:

    Hello, David,

    Not only is that a bit old, it’s never normal to be missing a lower canine tooth. That tooth has an enormous root. It’s very difficult to extract it if you need to, because there isn’t much jaw-bone left around it, so it’s easy to break the jaw.

    It usually takes quite a trauma to break that tooth or knock it out.

    I would recommend a visit to your veterinarian, and your dog will likely need dental X-rays to see if there is a root fragment left in there that needs to come out.

  126. Sarah says:

    My dacshund is almost a year old and still has 2 top baby canines along with all the adult teeth. They are a dark yellow and his breath is starting the smell. The tips of the baby teeth have broken off and the teeth are loose. What can I do?

  127. Doc says:

    Hello, Sarah,

    Talk to your veterinarian about scheduling a professional de-scaling and polishing of the teeth, and the baby teeth can be extracted at that time.

    Get this cleared up now, and the teeth should stay in good shape. Leave it alone, and you start a lifelong progression of gum disease and tooth loss.

  128. Jenny Khvan says:

    My black lab/doberman is 7 months now, and is still a very small size for her breed. When we got her, we’ve come to figure out that the breeder lied about her age, and she was a lot younger than we thought. Her mother died giving birth, so she did not receive any of her mothers milk. She had coccidia, and was hospitalized and treated also when she was younger. She lost all her teeth, and does not have any adult teeth growing. Her tongue has been hanging out, and I assumed it was because the lack of teeth, but now I am concerned because her lips seem swollen, and she has discomfort when I try and look into her mouth… But I feel as if they are swollen from overuse for grip due to no teeth. Her gums appear to be normal (not swollen or discolored) when I look in. I have been placing fish oil, and olive oil on her tongue and giving her ice cubes and small dosages of Benadryl and making sure she drinks lots of water. Should I be worried and seek medical attention? She is still as energetic as ever, and still has an appetite. Is her growing delayed due to her sickness while she was younger, and the fact that she did not have her mothers milk? Should I be worried? Am I overreacting? Please respond with any knowledge. Thanks in advanced.

  129. Doc says:

    Hello, Jenny,
    This is not something I’ve seen, personally.

    If it were presented to me, I’d want to do mouth X-rays to see where the permanent teeth are.

  130. Jy says:

    Hi i have a poodle around 5months old..her teeth start to drop and it cause smelly this normal? Will this smelly breath cure after all the teeth grow?any solution on it?

  131. Doc says:

    Hello, Jy,

    Your veterinarian should be able to provide you with a safe, antiseptic mouth rinse to help with this the. I would expect the problem to end when all the permanent teeth are in.

  132. Karen oaborne says:

    I’ve an 18mth chihuahu entier noticed he’d started biting his bed a lot his breth is smelly on checking his mouth I’ve noticed his baby teeth have not come out he has a lot of teeth will he need them extracted ? He also seems to have redness of the gums

  133. Doc says:

    Hello, Karen,

    If he has retained baby teeth, then his teeth get super crowded, and they catch a lot of junk. It can make his permanent teeth come in the wrong places. Gum disease is causing the odor.

    Yes, these teeth need to be extracted as soon as you can get it done.

  134. Lily says:

    I have a 6 months old male yorkie, one of his canine tooth is out with no problems but in the other one he has the baby tooth and the permanent one both there. The breeder told me to wait until he is 1 year old to and if they are still there then remove it. Is that normal? Should I wait that long? Also should I castrate my dog or not? I was reading that better to do so between 6-8 months of age, but in the clinic they told me that it was too soon.
    Will really appreciate your reply!

  135. Doc says:

    Hello, Lilly,

    Your breeder is misinformed. By one year of age, the permanent teeth will be locked into position. They wouldn’t move without putting orthodontic braces and tension devices, like a kid. If the baby teeth are extracted now, the permanent teeth have a chance to find their correct position. Sometimes you have to use ball therapy to move them, but they will still move. Ball therapy means using a rubber ball the right size that it puts a little spreading force on the teeth when they carry it.

    As to castrating the dog, the traditional age has been six months. Many now do it as early as four months. There has been some recent research that suggests it may be better to wait until the dog is mature. There is not a general consensus on this at this time. Your best adviser in this matter is the veterinarian who sees your dog.

  136. amanda Bair says:

    Hello, I have an 8 month old British Shorthair kitten, his tongue has been hanging out for the last few hours. It looks like his top right canine (?) is crooked a coming toward the inside instead of outside, causing his mouth not to close. His mood/appetite is fine, still playing and tail wagging but his tongue is out. Is this due to teething possibly? Do you think it will work itself out?

  137. Doc says:

    Hello, Amanda,

    Ordinarily, the deciduous (baby) teeth would be long gone by now. I think it’s time for a trip to your veterinarian. If the permanent canine tooth is misaligned, that needs immediate attention.

  138. Jan says:

    I have a standard poodle who will be six months old in a few days. His permanent left canine tooth has come in (and has been in for a while), but the right canine tooth has not yet appeared. The baby canine tooth is not in the way (it fell out a while ago — at least a few weeks ago if not more). Should I take him to the vet now or wait a bit longer? I’d hate to put him under anesthesia only to have the tooth pop through the next day…. He comes from a long line of AKC champions, so his ancestors could not have been missing a canine tooth.

  139. Doc says:

    Hello, Jan,

    I wouldn’t worry too much at this point. It would be a problem if there were no place for the tooth to come in, which is not the situation.

    If it has not appeared in the next few weeks, then dental X-rays are in order. Un-erupted teeth can cause cysts in the bone that are a real problem.

  140. Sandy says:

    My 4.5 year old toy poodle still has 2 baby teeth. They are right behind (in proper alignment) the first canine teeth on the upper jaw on each side. One of these teeth is loose. The vet said she would extract both baby teeth and the permanent teeth would then come in. That is not the idea I have based on these comments. (I didnt even know she still had baby teeth.) How concerned should I be? I don’t believe they have an xray machine. There was not one in the examination room.

  141. Doc says:

    Hello, Sandy,

    It is hard for me to visualize what is going on here. Retained baby teeth should be removed, as they are usually jammed up against permanent teeth, and the small space tends to pick up a lot of crud. This increases the tendency to develop gum disease.

    The permanent teeth (if present) are not going to be moving on their own in a dog of this age. If they are retained above the gum-line, they often cause the formation of dentigerous cysts. These bone cysts are a real problem to deal with, and it is better to extract the teeth, though this can be difficult. It is not possible to evaluate this without dental x-rays.

    It is highly unlikely that anyone would have a dental (or any kind) of X-ray in their exam room. You have to anesthetize a dog to X-ray its mouth. They won’t hold still with film in their mouth while you take a picture. This wouldn’t be done in the exam room anyway, as you need to take X-rays in another part of the hospital so that people are not exposed to radiation.

    You should ask the veterinarian who is actually seeing your dog for clarification if you have more questions about what is going on.

  142. B. Quinlan says:

    Hi, I have a 5 mth old Weimaraner that has 2 canine coming through in the same place. No 12, if that makes sense to you. What should I Do? He is a going to be shown???? BD

  143. Doc says:

    Hello, B. Quinlan,

    Whenever you have a permanent canine tooth erupting more than 1/4 of the way in, and the baby tooth has not fallen out, the baby tooth should be extracted right away. The permanent tooth needs a place to be, if you want it to function normally.

  144. Clarissa says:


    I have a 3 year old Pomeranian who has two retained deciduous upper canines. One is fairly wobly. I’ve been to the vet about this on numerous occasions. I have been advised they need to come out. My only major concern is the risk of the anaesthetic, I saved my dog from a puppy farm and he’s hand many illnesses and seizures in the past.

    Is there any other alternatives other than sedation? I don’t want the risk. Any suggestions would help.


  145. Doc says:

    Hello, Clarissa,

    The sedation can be very light, as we would use a local anesthetic to numb the nerve to the area, rather than using the anesthetic to control the pain of the extraction. The loose one may not be a problem, but could also have a broken root. Usually when these have not shed on their own, they have rather substantial roots. It should be a relatively short procedure. Talk with your veterinarian about your concerns.

  146. Bill says:

    Hi, I have a schnauzer she was born 2/10 she has no bottom incisors .. She has her canine teeth..! Is that normal? She eats regular food

  147. Doc says:

    Hello, Bill,
    Not normal. Also may not be a problem. Baby incisors should be erupting before six weeks of age. The permanent incisors start erupting at 16 weeks, usually.

    Toy breeds are often a late bloomers in this regard, but I wouldn’t consider a Schnauzer a toy breed.

    If they don’t show up pretty soon (next two weeks), I would recommend dental X-rays. Un-erupted teeth can cause bone cysts to develop in the jaw.

  148. Jaxon says:

    My 7-8 month maltipoo adult teeth have come in but it seems that he has not lost his all his baby fangs or incisors. While playing tug one tooth broke and to me it looks like a baby tooth. We’re going to the vet to have a dental xray for sure. At his age is too late to expect his baby teeth to fall out naturally, especially cause his adult teeth are already growing in? I don’t want the broken tooth to result in any infection so leaning towards getting that one pulled, but don’t know about the other 3 remaining baby teeth? At his age is the wiser move to just to pull them and give the growing teeth more time to adjust to their natural position?

  149. Doc says:

    Hello, Jaxon,
    I would recommend that you have all of these baby teeth extracted as soon as you reasonably can. They are very probably crowding the permanent teeth.

  150. Kathleen says:

    My 6 month old Yorkie had 4 baby teeth pulled yesterday while she was being spayed. This morning while I was feeding her some canned food she spit out a tooth. If the doctor removed all of the baby teeth then why would another tooth come out? Now I am concerned he may have loosened permanent teeth while extracting the baby teeth.

  151. Doc says:

    Hello, Kathleen,

    I suspect there was a small, loose baby tooth elsewhere in the mouth, and your doctor pulled the four baby canine teeth. It is VERY unlikely that he loosened a permanent tooth in the process to the point that the dog could spit it out. Loosening and extracting a firmly rooted permanent tooth takes rather considerable work. You wouldn’t do it accidentally.

  152. Claire says:

    I have a mini aussie, six months old. Today he got neutered i had been in for a consult last week because i noticed the permanent top canine (fang) was pushing baby fang out and when closing, that tooth now was digging into inner lip. So vet recommended extraction of baby fang at time of neutering which she did. When i picked put up vet told me she had a difficult time with extraction and a bit of the root tip broke off. She felt that digging in to grt that tip could result in more problems than the tip could cause. I accepted her explanation but now as i read all thr posts here and elsewhere…..there is not a single one suggesting that leaving the tip is ok in some instances. Please advise.

  153. Doc says:

    Hello, Claire,
    All the dental guys say to get them out. I’m no dental expert, but my impression is that few of them cause problems. I wouldn’t worry about it unless problems arise. You can always go after it then.

    To get that tip, you would have to open the gum, remove some bone, and it’s really oral surgery.

    I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve left a lot of them in, and the dogs don’t seem to have a problem. I think a lot of them are resorbed by the body.

    That being said, I haven’t gone back to X-ray them a year later, either.

    Certainly retained root tips from the extraction of permanent teeth can and often do cause problems.

    I think the best course at this point is to keep an eye on the area and let your veterinarian know if you suspect any problems.

    At some point, your dog will probably need dental cleaning, and X-rays at that time will let you know if something is percolating in there.

  154. Darren says:

    My 6 1/2 month cocka poo s bottom left fang tooth i.e. A lot smaller than the right side one, wit grow to the same length or should we take to the vets

  155. Doc says:

    Hello, Darren,
    If the teeth do not match, something is not right.

    I would recommend that you let your veterinarian take a look at this.

    Best wishes.

  156. Sarah says:

    Hi, I have recently got a nearly 2 year old cab. I noticed how smelly his breath was, when looking at his teeth they were pretty bad so I started cleaning them and them look much better. His gums are still a bit red in places but I can see a big improvement. I noticed he has a baby fang next to his adult one, since cleaning it looks much better but is quite wobbly. Would I cause any damage by wobbling it till it comes out

  157. Doc says:

    Hello, Sarah,
    If it is already wobbling, you won’t cause damage by wiggling it out,though it may be uncomfortable for the dog.

    It is great that you are cleaning the teeth, but if there is really a problem, the most important part is below the gum-line. Cleaning the visible crown of the tooth is largely cosmetic, and doesn’t deal with the root source of the disease.

    Cleaning below the gum-line needs to be done by your veterinarian while the dog is under light anesthesia.

  158. Carol says:

    Apparently this is the thread that never dies 🙂 I recently rescued a 2-3 year old Tibetan spaniel. He still has his baby top fangs next to his adult fangs. This does not seem to cause him any discomfort but he has very fishy breath (although I do not feed him fish). Will it be ok to have these removed? I only ask because of his age and I do not want to harm his permanent teeth if they are all sharing the socket. In other words I don’t want to cause more harm then good. He is going for a teeth cleaning this week so I was searching for advice on what to do. Also, I am very nervous about him going under anesthesia because I’ve heard bad stories of dogs passing during the treatment. I’ve become seriously attached to him and don’t want anything bad to happen!

  159. sharon moore says:

    I have an 8 month old Brussels griffon puppy , her lower canine teeth have not come in yet, we had her xrayed and they are there just havn’t erupted. how long can we safely wait before having to remove

  160. Doc says:

    Hello, Carol,
    Two teeth should not be sharing the space intended for one. This causes gum disease as stuff gets trapped there all the time. It can also cause malocclusion as the lower canine teeth get pushed into the wrong place.

    It is very unlikely that the permanent teeth would be damaged in the process of extracting the baby teeth.

    There is always risk with anesthesia – if it were good for you, you wouldn’t lose consciousness. However, dental cleaning is not painful, so only very light anesthesia is needed. When you do something painful (like extracting a tooth), we use local anesthetic to numb the area, rather than going with deeper anesthetic. The risks are minimal with modern anesthetics and monitoring.

  161. Doc says:

    Hello, Sharon,
    In looking at similar case histories on Veterinary Information Network, the dental specialists recommend referral to a dental specialist. As to what to do, it depends on how the teeth are situated. If they haven’t erupted, but are in good alignment, sometimes they just make an incision over the tooth (extracting any retained baby teeth).
    Sometimes the tooth needs to be extracted.
    I am certainly no dental specialist. You might ask your veterinarian to email the radiographs to a dental specialist for evaluation.

  162. Laura says:

    My roughly 5 1/2 month old chocolate lab mix puppy seemed to have two lower retained k9s and I made an appointment for this weekend… last night one fell out while playing tug, hoping the other one will follow suit. My question is, since the adult tooth had already started coming in behind it, will it move into the correct spot, where the baby tooth was, on its own? Thanks in advance!

  163. karen says:

    I have a cat, male, who I raised from a small kitten. His mom was killed by a car. He is an inside cat and about 1.5 years old now. He is really tiny and I had to force fed him when he was a baby. His bottom teeth are super tiny, not like his siblings, and they have started falling out now. He has lost two so far. Doesn’t look like he has any permanent teeth under them and they look too little to have ever been permanent teeth. Any ideas???

  164. Doc says:

    Hello, Karen,
    It will take dental X-rays to determine if your cat just never developed permanent teeth, or they are there and failed to erupt.

    Sometimes un-erupted teeth remain quiet under the gum line. Sometimes they stimulate formation of a dentigerous cyst.

    While it can be complicated to extract these un-erupted teeth surgically, it is less complicated than dealing with a dentigerous cyst. The cyst can be quite destructive of bone in the area.

    If you don’t handle this now, be alert for any swelling developing in the area. That could indicate the beginning of a cyst. It would be better to have it removed while it is small.

  165. Eva says:

    Hi there 🙂 we have a 6.5 month old toy schnauzer with 4 retained baby canines. We’ve been waiting patiently for about a month now hoping that the baby teeth would come out on their own but they are still very solid, not wiggly at all so we decided to have Them extracted this week. Right now The adult canines are pretty much almost of the same height as the baby canines and as I am not sure if this means that they fully erupted already, I am wondering if The permanent canines still have a chance of finding the right spot in The jaw after the extraction? Thank you for letting me know!

  166. Eva P says:

    I have a 6.5 months old toy schnauzer with 4 retained baby canines. I will be bringing him for extraction this week. I have a question with regard to the adult canines: they are pretty much of the same height as the baby canines at the moment and I do not know of that’s mean that they fully errupted already and if there is still a chance that the permanent teeth will find the correct spots in the jaw after extraction? Thank you

  167. Doc says:

    Hello, Eva,
    I think that if the baby teeth are extracted now that there is a very good chance that the permanent canine teeth will find their spot.

  168. Susannah Hayes says:

    I have a 7 month old German Shepherd ad Rottweiler mix puppy.I noticed a few weeks ago that one of his lower fangs is missing. He was a victim of a dog fight in may and is still recovering from those injuries. I was checking hs teeth this evening and noticed what looks like a tooth trying to erupt. He is an avid chewer. I typically give him rope toys, tennis balls, Kong toys, any anything else that might last longer than 2 days. I am wondering could his adult tooth be trying to come in or is it possible he lost his adult tooth? Thanks in advance.

  169. Doc says:

    Hello, Susannah,
    Usually by six months of age, all his permanent teeth would have erupted. That’s not set in stone, of course. At his age, I wouldn’t be surprised if he lost the baby fang and the permanent fang is late erupting. Your veterinarian should be able to help you tell the difference. Worst case scenario is that you might need to take dental X-rays.

  170. SJ says:

    Hi Doc
    I have a 4 month puppy that’s started losing baby incisors in the last week. All the top ones have come out and tips of adult teeth are coming out. The bottom ones two in the middle are out and starting to erupt, two way to the sides next to canines are still baby teeth, and the two next to those on either side have the adult teeth erupting behind them. Puppy is very wriggly so I wasn’t able to feel much, but the baby teeth definitely are somewhat loose at least. At what point would it become something to look at, seeing as it’s still very early would it be okay to leave it a while and check what happens? Or is it immediately necessary to go have it checked and extracted?

  171. Doc says:

    Hello, SJ,
    Sorry to be so late replying, but I have been out of town.

    I don’t worry about this at all until the permanent canine teeth (fangs) are about one third of the way in. If the baby teeth aren’t getting a little loose by then, you should check with your veterinarian.

  172. Michelle Newell says:

    Thank you for having this site up and taking questions. I have a 6 year old shiatsu-poo. I took him in to get his teeth cleaned and when I picked him up the vet said he needed (4) simple extractions and had already pulled them. They were his top, front (4) teeth. Its been about 5 weeks now. Are they going to grow back? How long should it take?
    Needless to say I was an unhappy mother. Thanks MN

  173. Doc says:

    Hello, Michelle,

    This sounds like your baby has had a problem with gum disease causing the premature loosening of his incisor teeth. These teeth have small, single roots. In many toy breed dogs, we have a problem with loss of bone density in this area.

    While tartar (calculus) accumulation undermines the attachment of the gums to the tooth, some of these guys lose bone even when there is no tartar.

    Once these teeth become mobile, they have lost more than 50 % of their attachment to the jaw, and they are going to be lost.

    Leaving them in place when they are wiggly is painful for the dog. Every time he bumps them and they move, it feels similar to running on a sprained ankle.

    Those teeth are used primarily for grooming by the dog, so they don’t affect his eating if they are lost.

    If these were his adult teeth (as I suspect) they will not be growing back.

    The bad news is that it would have been better if your doctor had explained this prior to removing the teeth.

    The good news is that the doctor did the right thing and has saved your baby from being uncomfortable with these loose teeth.

  174. Michelle Newell says:

    Thank you so much for the explanation and the quick response. You and your willingness to share your knowledge in this forum is much appreciated.

  175. Linelle says:


    I have a puppy that is 8 months old and his two front incisors have not completely erupted. X-rays showed that he has retained deciduous teeth. If those are removed, is there any chance that the two permanent teeth might finish coming out normally?

    • Doc says:

      Hello, Linelle,
      I am not a dental expert, but my understanding is that it is always better to remove retained deciduous teeth.

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