Retained Deciduous(Baby) Teeth & Missing Adult Teeth

Retained deciduous teeth is a problem often seen in young dogs and cats.  This happens when the permanent teeth fail to displace the temporary teeth.  The result is a permanent and deciduous tooth occupying the same location in the mouth. This dental crowding can cause the permanent tooth to grow at an abnormal angle, leading to a malocclusion, which is the term used to describe an irregular bite alignment. Dental crowding also leads to the rapid accumulation of plaque and tarter, which causes periodontal disease to form between the two teeth. For all these reasons, retained deciduous teeth should be removed to help preserve the health and conformation of the permanent teeth.

Most dogs and cats are fixed(spayed or neutered) at around 6 months of age. ​During anesthesia, our veterinarians will perform a complete oral exam on your pet and any retained baby teeth will be removed at that time to prevent future complications. Any missing teeth will have x-rays performed to ensure that the tooth isn’t trapped underneath the gum line. 

Missing permanent teeth is also a common problem found in juvenile oral exams, particularly at the time of the spay or neutering procedure. Missing teeth should be x-rayed to rule out the possibility of a retained or trapped tooth. A trapped tooth below the gum line can lead to a dentigerous cyst, a destructive process which can lead to jaw fracture. Trapped teeth should be surgically removed to prevent this condition.

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