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(207) 846-6515 H
H

(207) 846-6515

DENTAL: RETAINED DECIDUOUS TEETH IN DOGS AND CATS

RETAINED (PERSISTENT) DECIDUOUS ("BABY") TEETH
Overview
- Retained deciduous teeth are teeth that are still present when the permanent tooth has erupted
- More common in dogs than cats
- More common in small breed dogs
- Normal deciduous teeth erupt between 3 and 10 weeks for dogs and 3 and 6 weeks for cats
- Normal permanent teeth erupt beginning at 3 to 4 months for the front teeth and 6 to 7 months for the back teeth
- May go undiagnosed until later in life (thorough evaluation of a dog's or cat's mouth always requires anesthesia and xrays)
Signs
- Abnormal position of the permanent tooth, which can result in malocclusion
- Halitosis, gingivitis, and periodontal disease due to crowding of teeth
- Enamel on permanent tooth will not develop where it is in contact with the retained deciduous tooth
- In a small percentage of patients, additional anatomical abnormalities including no permanent tooth, deciduous roots without crowns, unerupted permanent teeth
- Malocclusion can lead to many complications, including oronasal fistula (a tunnel between the mouth and the nasal passage)
Diagnostics
- We begin examining the mouth at the time of the first puppy or kitten exam, looking for both proper eruption of permanent teeth and loss of deciduous teeth
- Breeders and other concerned owners should consider xrays starting prior to the eruption of the permanent teeth; these xrays are most diagnostic after 8 to 10 weeks of age
- Anesthesia and xrays are always necessary for a complete evaluation and proper treatment planning
Treatment
- Extraction of the retained deciduous teeth
- Essential to remove the entire root; the roots of retained teeth may or may not have been resorbed (dissolved) to some degree
- Xrays often needed to confirm extraction of entire root
- Post-operative pain medication and antibiotics
- Consider not breeding affected patients 
Yarmouth Veterinary Center
2013

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