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D2011-06

Dear Daisy Dog

Lucy, our 6-month-old Yorkie, seems to have extra teeth. Is this a problem?

Daisy Responds

If Lucy’s baby teeth, called deciduous teeth, didn’t fall out before her adult teeth came in, then she has too many, a problem called retained deciduous teeth.

The disorder occurs most often in small breed dogs and is probably inherited. Usually the most visible teeth, the incisors and especially the canine teeth, are involved.

Puppies normally have 28 baby teeth. By six or seven months of age, they should be gone and the adult teeth -– dogs have 42 of them -– should be in place.

Extra teeth can cause malocclusion and periodontal disease, an infection that occurs when food gets stuck between the overcrowded teeth.

Also, a double set of roots impedes normal development of the adult tooth’s socket. Without adequate support, the adult tooth is more likely to fall out.

To prevent these problems, have Lucy’s baby teeth extracted as soon as possible. As a general rule, the earlier the retained deciduous teeth are removed, the greater the likelihood that the adult teeth will move into the correct position.

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