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Retained Deciduous or Baby Teeth in Dogs… Symptoms, expectations and costs!

We feel pretty safe assuming that most folks don’t know that some dogs retain their deciduous Teeth or “baby” teeth.  It’s not as uncommon as you think, particularly among dogs with tiny jaws. And while it may not seem like a big deal, this is considered a periodontal disease, which means it occurs in the mouth.

And while…

The term “retained deciduous” may sound a little complicated it isn’t. Deciduous teeth refer to what we might call “baby teeth” in humans, and when dogs suffer from this condition, they do not lose their baby teeth, forcing the adult teeth to grow in the wrong place.  As a result, dogs with this condition have too many teeth in their mouths in their younger years. Still, as the baby teeth finally do come away, they are left with a malformed bite, making eating difficult and leading to other periodontal conditions.


If the baby’s teeth rot in the mouth, they will also require extensive dental treatment, often with the pup needing to be unconscious for the duration. And just as a general rule of thumb, it’s safe to say that a cold dog in any procedure is dangerous, so you can see how this condition might result in either a lifetime of pain and discomfort or an operation to correct it.  This is why we here at IndulgeYourPet wanted to take a closer look at Retained Deciduous Teeth and find out precisely what it is and what we can do about it.

What is retained deciduous teeth in dogs?

Retained deciduous teeth in dogs are thought to be genetically inherited from parents. They most often occur in the canine teeth and can be present in dogs and cats.  However, this condition rarely happens in the molars because dogs do not replace their pre-molars and molars as humans do. Still, all other teeth are subject to this strange periodontal disease.

In this disease…

The baby teeth, or the Primary Teeth, are still in the mouth when the adult teeth emerge. It is usually evident when puppy stages are drawing to a close and may affect several teeth or just one tooth. The canine is the most often retained tooth, leading to an eternal hampering of your dog’s bite.  Additionally, retained baby teeth can cause pain in the mouth and gums and lead to permanent malocclusions, where the teeth have significant gaps.

This condition starts…

When the “milk teeth” fail to naturally fall away through regular wear and tear and the usual teething process. The adult teeth then erupt underneath and push the milk teeth aside. The adult teeth will grow regardless of which direction they face, which can impact the surrounding teeth and force them to protrude too.  This condition is typically detectable between the ages of four and seven months while your dog is still a puppy. Since it is an inherited condition, check with your breeder before you buy if the dog’s parents have any family history of retained deciduous teeth.

Deciduous canine teeth…

They are usually the worst of the retained culprits. Canine teeth are used for ripping and tearing into meat, so when this tooth is misaligned, the dog is left at a serious advantage when it comes to pulling into those bones – particularly when it comes to the upper canine teeth.  In cases like these, extraction of the baby tooth root from the jaw before tartar rots them is essential, and dental surgery will be required to correct it.

This is why…

One of the first things your vet will want to examine during your dog’s first check-up is their teeth.  During this initial examination, your vet will want to check your puppy’s mouth and jaw to ensure no clinical signs of Retained Deciduous Teeth. Doing so will catch the problem before there are any permanent issues.  Unfortunately, there is little we can do to prevent it. It is treatable, and if caught in time, it can be prevented from doing any awful permanent damage to your little dog’s mouth.

Commonly Affected breeds

Several breeds are associated with this condition because it is inherited. It is more common in brachycephalic dog breeds (those with shorter snouts) as they have smaller jaw lines and less room for teeth to erupt. That being said, the known species to suffer from this condition are:

Treatment Options

Your Vet will want to do some dental X-rays to diagnose this condition. Once done, they will want to rush your dog through dental extraction of the milk teeth as soon as possible to prevent the adult teeth from coming through at odd angles and forming malocclusions that could further damage your dog’s jaw over time.  Once the procedure has been completed, your dog should live a happy and carefree life. Without the process, they will have a lifetime of troubles when it comes to chewing. Surgery can be expensive, but it is very, very worth it.

This brings us to…

Were we like to remind folks that we here at IndulgeYourPet are not doctors, veterinarians, or medical professionals.  We are all a bunch of folks passionate about animals and only want what’s best for them.  This is why if you feel like your pet may have Retained Deciduous Teeth (or any other health issue for that matter), the first thing you’ll want to do is have them checked out by a vet ASAP!


An early diagnosis will often lead to the “best” medical outcome for your pet regardless of what is bothering them, but beyond that, diagnosing a medical condition early could save you a bundle in medical costs!  And while suffering from retained “baby teeth” may not be life-threatening, they can become quite expensive, particularly if they become recurring issues.

For this reason…

We here at IndulgeYourPet also recommend that any new pet owner take a moment and see what it might cost for you to purchase a pet insurance policy for your new animal.  Now will a pet insurance policy be suitable for everyone?  No, probably not.  But until you fully understand what these policies “will” and “won’t” cover and how much these pet insurance policies cost, how will you know if one might be right for you?

For more information on who we feel currently offers the “best” pet insurance policies out there, we would encourage you to check out our Best Pet Insurance Policies article.

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