Home » other animals » Teeth replacement in a dog: course and disorders [Lek. vet. Katarzyna Hołownia

Teeth replacement in a dog: course and disorders [Lek. vet. Katarzyna Hołownia

A properly developing puppy has the following milk teeth: three incisors, a canine and three premolars in each quadrant of the mouth for a total of 28 milk teeth. During replacement with permanent teeth, milk teeth are replaced with three permanent incisors, a canine, four premolars and two molars in the maxilla, and three in the mandible, for a total of 42 permanent teeth.

Dog teeth replacement

Dogs, like humans, have both deciduous and permanent teeth.

The deciduous dentition is still developing in the prenatal life and has many stages - after all, a tooth is not only a crown visible in the oral cavity, but also a root and a system of ligaments that keep it in the right position.

It all starts with the formation of a dental lamina in which tooth buds develop - initially the crown develops, i.e. the part seen above the gum. Once it is formed, the tooth is ready to be erupted and only then the root is formed.

  • How does the replacement of milk teeth permanently work in a dog??
  • Teeth replacement disorders
    • Nasal
    • Persistent milk teeth
    • Tooth fracture
  • How to help your dog replace teeth?
  • How to distinguish a milk tooth from a permanent tooth?

How does the replacement of milk teeth permanently work in a dog??

How does the replacement of a dog's teeth work?

The innervation and vascularization of the milk tooth is partly shared with the permanent tooth.

When a permanent tooth appears, it causes pressure on the nerves and vessels supplying the milk tooth.

Milk milk is not well supplied with nutrients, it slowly begins to die.

The constant growth and development of the animal causes the alveolus to enlarge as well, and the small, milk tooth ceases to fill it tightly. The alveolar ligaments loosen and the tooth is no longer so firmly seated in the alveolus.

The emerging and growing permanent tooth additionally pushes the milk tooth, a larger permanent tooth fits perfectly into the space created in this way. 

Dog teeth replacement This starts with the replacement of the incisors, then the permanent canines appear and finally the premolars. The last to appear are molars - their erosion proves the maturity of the bite.

The replacement of permanent milk teeth usually goes unnoticed by the pet's caregiver. The heraldic symptom of the upcoming tooth replacement is usually the desire to bite everything that can (and cannot) bite - hard shoes, teethers, but also the hands of the caregiver.

Sometimes there is a slight reddening of the gums, there may also be slight bleeding or reluctance to eat hard food.

Caregivers often do not find milk teeth, sometimes the teeth are swallowed with a piece of food. 

Teeth replacement disorders

Teeth replacement disorders are usually caused by diseases that the dog underwent in adolescence.


And so, the most common cause of retention of deciduous teeth and the lack of eruption of permanent teeth is a past nasal passage. The virus causing this disease can also damage ameloblasts and odontoblasts - this leads to root deformation and premature closure of the root tip.

The tooth replacement process is stopped - the dog still has milk teeth and the permanent teeth are stuck in the bones of the maxilla or mandible. Such teeth may require extraction.

Persistent milk teeth

The situation is different with persistent milk teeth.

This disorder most often affects small and miniature breeds, it is not related to illnesses.

The disease may be a family disease, but the way in which this defect is inherited is not fully understood.

It is quite dangerous for the comfort of the pet's functioning, persistent milk teeth may disrupt the correct permanent bite and, as a result, contribute to malocclusion. The permanent tooth does not have enough space to erupt completely, so the tooth may be partially retained.

Persistent deciduous teeth should be removed, but the procedure carries the risk of iatrogenic damage to the enamel in the permanent tooth.

If, as a result of the presence of persistent milk teeth, no traumatic bite occurs, the extraction of milk teeth should be postponed until the bite is mature, i.e. until all teeth have been erupted.

Tooth fracture

As I mentioned, replacing teeth causes an urge to chew on hard objects, and this may predispose young animals to mouth injuries. In the event of a milk tooth fracture, you should immediately contact a veterinarian.

Such injuries are relatively rare in healthy growing animals, but can occur when a dog's diet has an abnormal calcium-phosphorus ratio.

This causes a significant weakening of the teeth, which become fragile and brittle.

Predisposed to a deciduous tooth crown fracture are also animals that have a history of distemper and have enamel defects. An open fracture of the tooth crown exposes the pulp, which may result in the formation of a periapical abscess in the milk tooth.

Ignoring this condition will result in the development of infections in the socket and adjacent tissues, significant weakening of the permanent tooth and may result in its incorrect positioning.

How to help your dog replace teeth?

Dog chews

Most dogs replace their teeth asymptomatically - only during the clinical examination the handler learns that his pet has already replaced or is in the process of replacing teeth.

A dog that begins to replace its teeth, however, may experience considerable discomfort, these are individual features - swollen and sore gums make the pet want to chew on everything. During this time, it is worth providing him with the right amount of chews and toys intended for dogs that he can bite.

For rubber and silicone items, try to cool them down before playing to bring comfort to sore tissues. During the tooth replacement period, tear-off toys are not recommended - they may disturb the delicate structure of erupting permanent teeth and disrupt their course, causing a malocclusion.

How to distinguish a milk tooth from a permanent tooth?

First of all, milk teeth are smaller in size. In the case of canines, the deciduous teeth show a clear sharpening of the apex of the crown. At the root, the milk tusk is narrower than the fixed tusk. Milk teeth are also quite sharp, which will be confirmed by every caretaker of a young puppy.

In doubtful cases, it is worth taking an X-ray of the teeth - in the case of milk teeth, a difference in the thickness of the tooth enamel is visible - milk teeth have a thin layer of enamel and a narrow tooth canal. The root canal of the tooth is closed in milk teeth, and the root itself is quite narrow and not too deeply embedded in the bone.


It's a good idea to monitor your dog's oral health.

Replacing deciduous teeth with permanent teeth is a very important process of the organism's development. If teeth are replaced incorrectly, or if some teeth are retained, they can disrupt the development of permanent teeth.

Incorrect positioning of permanent teeth may cause malocclusion, abnormal abrasion of the teeth, and consequently disrupt the development of the entire oral cavity - from the muscles responsible for chewing the bites, to the temporomandibular joints.

The guardian should get the dog used to the dental checkup and preventive treatments that will ensure a healthy smile for many years.

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