Dog: Retained Deciduous Teeth

General information

Other common/scientific names: retained baby teeth

Puppies are born without teeth. When teeth appear at the gum line, we call this eruption or the teeth erupt. The first teeth to erupt in puppies are called deciduous or baby teeth. At three to five weeks, the first deciduous teeth to erupt are the incisors. These are followed by the canine (fang) teeth at five to six weeks of age and premolars at six weeks of age. Puppies do not have molars. Eventually, a puppy should have 28 deciduous teeth - six incisors, two canines and six premolars on both top and bottom.

Abb. GSSM70I3
Abb. GSSM70I3: Decidous or baby teeth.

Abb. GSSM4Y57
Abb. GSSM4Y57: Dentition.
The same dog a few weeks later. Most baby teeth have been replaced by permanent teeth. Some of the baby teeth are retained.

At five to seven months, the deciduous teeth will fall out and be replaced by the permanent teeth. In some puppies, one or more of the deciduous teeth are retained. This happens most often with the canine teeth and in small and toy breeds.

Comparatively, an adult dog should have 42 permanent teeth - six incisors, two canines, four premolars on the top and bottom. Adult dogs will also have two upper molars and three lower molars.

Abb. GSSM8S27
Abb. GSSM8S27: Teeth of an adult dog.


While the cause of retained deciduous teeth is unknown, a genetic component may be present.

Cardinal symptom

Extra Teeth


The retained teeth are narrower and sharper and usually located behind the permanent teeth. Retained teeth can interfere with eruption of the permanent teeth and normal occlusion. Additionally, food may accumulate between the retained teeth and permanent teeth increasing the chance of infection, gingivitis or periodontal disease.

Abb. GGF1H05U
Abb. GGF1H05U: Retained deciduous canine tooth.
This is a photograph of a retained deciduous canine tooth located behind the wider, rounder permanent tooth.


Diagnosis is made by physical examination.


The retained teeth should be extracted as soon as possible.


If the retained teeth are extracted before they cause overcrowding, delayed eruption of permanent teeth or increased plaque formation, the prognosis is good. However, retained deciduous teeth that are left in place can cause malocclusion and periodontal disease.

Update version: 4/24/2014, © Copyright by
Join the discussion!
- This article has no comments yet -

The information offered by enpevet Ltd. is intended solely for information purposes and and does under no circumstances replace a personal consultation, examination or diagnosis through a veterinarian. Thus, the information serves as an addition to the dialogue between pet owner and veterinarian, but can never replace the visit to the veterinarian. enpevet® would like to ask all users, whose animals have health concerns, to see a veterinarian as required. If you have any questions regarding the health of your animal, we recommend that you turn to your trusted veterinarian , instead of starting, changing or breaking off treatments on your own. The content of enpevet® cannot and should not be used for making your own diagnoses or for the selection and application of treatment methods.