What happens if puppy teeth don’t fall out? A Comprehensive Guide

What Are Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs?

Retained baby teeth are baby teeth that are still in the mouth after the adult teeth have erupted. The roots of baby teeth normally reabsorb into the body resulting in loose teeth that easily fall out and leave room for adult teeth. But with retained baby teeth, the roots do not reabsorb and the baby teeth fill the space where the adult teeth should be. The teeth that are most commonly retained in dogs are the canines and incisors but any baby teeth can be retained.

What happens if puppy teeth don’t fall out?

In this particular case of a 6 month old male dachshund, I removed the single retained baby tooth at the same time that I neutered the pup, so that the little guy only had to have one anesthesia.

Retained baby teeth can occur in any breed. However, we see it most commonly in smaller breeds. It is important to remove these teeth as soon as it becomes evident that they are not going to fall out on their own (usually around 6 months).

Just like in humans, a dog’s puppy teeth should fall out when their adult teeth erupt. Sometimes, the puppy teeth do not fall out, and we refer to them as “retained deciduous teeth”.

The reason it is so important to remove these teeth, is that they are usually right up against the adult tooth. The close space between the teeth is a great place for food and debris and hair to get stuck. Then the bacteria start growing. Before you know it, you have a severely diseased adult canine tooth. This is a source of pain and infection for the dog.

Treatment of Retained Baby Teeth in Dogs

If/when deciduous teeth show no signs of falling out naturally, a veterinarian will more than likely recommend having the baby teeth extracted. Fractured, or retained teeth, may also need to be removed.

While some dogs will genetically have an overbite, the tooth extraction process is also used to fix that if possible. Long upper jaws are necessary during the nursing years, but as a dog grows older, the lower jaw should have a growth spurt in which adult teeth grow in, too. If lower teeth get caught behind the upper teeth, the lower jaw cannot close properly. A veterinarian may recommend getting rid of a few lower baby teeth to correct the issue so the jaw can expand naturally. This will also get baby teeth out of the way so adult teeth can grow in.

Depending on the dogs teeth, a special plate (i.e., braces) or tooth shortening may also be useful to help along in the process for adult teeth to grow into the dogs mouth correctly.

Worried about the cost of Retained Baby Teeth treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Do Puppies Need Their Baby Teeth Pulled If They Don’t Fall Out After 6 Months?