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Is it normal for dogs to lose their teeth?

Dog missing tooth

Tooth and gum problems are very common issues in dogs and can have a significant impact on their overall health and well-being, as well as their quality of life. The pain and discomfort caused by injuries or periodontal disease can make eating difficult for your pet. And while teething is normal for puppies, it’s important to know when this should occur and how to monitor for problems. Keep reading to learn more!

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Teething in Puppies

Deciduous teeth (also called needle teeth or baby teeth) will start to “erupt” or emerge from the gums when the puppy is about two weeks old. The first teeth to emerge are the incisors, followed by the canine teeth and premolars. There are, however, variations in growth between individuals. Generally, all baby teeth have erupted by 8-10 weeks of age. At about 4 months old, deciduous teeth will start to fall out, and all are lost by about 6 months of age.

Permanent teeth will soon start to erupt from the puppy’s gums as soon as the baby teeth start falling out. Incisors usually start to grow at 2-5 months old, canine teeth at 5-6 months, premolars at 4-6 months, and molars at 4-7 months. Dogs generally have a full set of permanent teeth (the total number is 42) when they’re about 7-8 months old.

You may find your puppy's teeth lying on the ground when they’re teething. But in most cases, you won’t notice many baby teeth falling out because puppies usually swallow them or lose them outside.

The eruption of the teeth from the gums can bring some pain and discomfort to the puppy. To find relief, puppies will chew on anything they can get their mouths on. Offering puppy-safe chew toys is highly recommended so your pup won’t end up chewing your socks, shoes, or even the carpet.

Is it normal for adult dogs to lose teeth?

Sometimes tooth loss can indicate certain issues that should be brought to the immediate attention of a veterinarian. There are several reasons why a dog may lose teeth.

Both the first and second set of teeth can be affected by dental problems. Puppies use their mouth and nose to learn more about their environment. In the process, they may break their baby teeth when they try chewing hard objects. Broken teeth can become infected and this can affect the developing permanent teeth. A broken tooth that doesn’t fall out may need to be repaired with a root canal or extracted by a veterinarian.

When a tooth is broken, the pulp chamber may become exposed causing pain and/or sensitivity. It’s in the pulp chamber where the nerves of the tooth can be found. Bacteria in the pulp chamber can also cause infection in the roots of the teeth.

Cancer in a dog’s jawbone or gums can also affect the ability of the gums, bones, and associated structures to keep the teeth firmly in place.

Periodontal disease is an important cause of tooth loss in adult dogs. The condition is characterized by inflammation of the tissues around the tooth. Plaque and tartar buildup causes the formation of periodontal pockets or receding gums around the area where the tooth is normally attached. Without appropriate medical intervention, the infection eventually spreads deeper in the socket of the tooth and ultimately causes bone destruction and tooth loss.

A regular home dental regimen for your pet is very important for his dental health and well-being. Without regular tooth brushing, plaque and tartar will build up on your pet’s teeth and gums which can create a favorable place for bacteria to thrive and cause an infection. This can eventually lead to damage of the supporting structures of the teeth and bone loss.

Why Regular Dental Checkups Are Important For Dogs

A dental exam is generally included in your pet’s annual health and wellness checks. Full dental assessments and cleanings are performed under general anesthesia. Anesthesia, however, may be contraindicated in dogs with certain health issues, such as congestive heart failure. Your vet will discuss the options with you, including any pre-operative tests and medications that may be recommended.

Your vet may also take x-rays of your dog’s teeth and gums to check for any signs of damage. Pain medication and antibiotics may be prescribed after the procedure to prevent infection.

If your pet has loose or missing teeth, bad breath, and/or bleeding gums, you should make an appointment with your vet as soon as possible.

Read more:

Keeping Your Tiny Dog Healthy: Dental Care Edition

Tooth Root Abscesses in Dogs

Signs of Pain in Dogs

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