Retained puppy teeth were a common thing at the vet where I worked, and owners always asked if the the teeth should be removed or allowed to stay. You know how sometimes, in humans, the baby tooth doesn’t come out even when the big tooth starts coming through? The same thing can happen in dogs. Today we’ll cover when it’s a good idea to remove retained puppy teeth.
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Should Retained Puppy Teeth be Extracted?
The short answer is yes. While retained puppy teeth might not seem like a problem now, those extra teeth can lead to other problems further down the line. However, just because these teeth should be extracted doesn’t mean it has to be done immediately. It’s not good to leave them in, but it’s also not a dire emergency.
Why Should Retained Puppy Teeth be Extracted
Retained puppy teeth, while not a problem in the beginning, can lead to issues down the line. They aren’t supposed to be there. That in and of itself will cause problems. Your dog’s mouth wasn’t made for those extra teeth, so you can end up with some problems related to them.
For example, retained puppy teeth can affect your dog’s bite. A dog’s bit is just as important to them as it is to us. An improper bite can lead to excessive tooth wear and even discomfort from years of the teeth not seating properly.
In addition to that, the extra nooks and crannies created by retained puppy teeth can lead to excessive accumulation of plaque and tarter. That leads to unhealthy gums. Those unhealthy gums, in turn, can send bacteria into the blood stream where it can damage the heart, liver, and kidneys.
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There is a discomfort factor to consider in addition to health risks. I once saw a dog with retained puppy teeth come in with sever mouth pain. After we sedated it and started the exam, we found a large amount of rotting hair wrapped around all four of its retained canines. That hair had trapped food particles which had then migrated under the dogs gum line, causing severe irritation, inflammation and pain.
When Should Retained Puppy Teeth Be Extracted
Like I said, it’s a good idea to have retained puppy teeth extracted, but you can wait for the right time. At my vet, we did puppy teeth extractions when the dog came in for a routine dental cleaning, a spay or neuter, or any other procedure that required it to be under anesthesia. We never charged for those extractions, because the other procedure always more than covered the time and effort of adding in something so simple. If your dog has retained puppy teeth, talk to your vet and see if he or she is willing to do the same thing.
Retained puppy teeth can cause problems down the line, but they’re exceedingly easy to remove most times. So if your dog has retained puppy teeth, it’s best to have them removed. Your dog will thank you for it! Well, not really, but you know what I mean.
Did you pooch have retained puppy teeth? How did you vet handle it? Share your experience in the comments.