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Just like humans, our animals have deciduous (baby) teeth that will be loss while they mature into adult animals. An adult dog has a total of 42 teeth (12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars). While a puppy has only 28 teeth (12 incisors, 4 canines, and 12 premolars). A puppy should loss all their baby teeth within the first year of life.
When examining your pet mouth, it is split into 4 quadrants: Upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right. The midline (center) is the space between the first two incisors or front teeth. When counting your pet?s teeth, always start at the midline and go outwards. So there should be 3 incisors to the right and 3 incisors to the left (Giving total of 6 incisors on the upper jaw and 6 on the lower jaw). With most pets the teeth are usually a mirror image to the opposite side. However, sometime due to genetics or anatomy, your pet may be missing a tooth.
Location: Incisors are the front teeth.
Function: Dogs incisors are used for nipping. (Example: when a mother picks up her puppy by the scruff, she will use her front teeth).
Eruption of baby teeth: Incisors erupt around 4 to 6 weeks of age.
Eruption of adult teeth: Permanent incisors erupt around 2 to 5 months of age.
Number: (From the center) There should be 3 in the upper left quadrant, 3 in upper right quadrant, 3 in lower left quadrant, and 3 in lower right quadrant.
Canine or Cuspid
Location: Is the long fanged tooth that is the 4th tooth from the center midline.
Function: Canines are used for puncturing and grasping.
Eruption of baby teeth: Canines erupt around 3 to 5 weeks of age.
Eruption of adult teeth: Permanent canines erupt around 5 to 6 months.
Number: There should be 1 canine in each quadrant (total of 4 canines in the mouth).
Location: Start after the canine tooth.
Function: Are used for gripping, shearing, and grinding.
Eruption of baby teeth: Premolars erupt around 5 to 6 weeks of age.
Eruption of adult teeth: Permanent premolars erupt around 4 to 6 months.
Number: While young (puppy), they only have a total of 12 premolars but when adults they gain an extra tooth in each quadrant. So 4 premolar in the upper left, 4 in lower left, 4 in upper right, and 4 teeth in lower right.
Location: the adult molars are right behind the premolar or 4 teeth (premolars) behind canine
Function: Molars are used for shearing and grinding food.
Baby teeth: Puppies do not have molars.
Eruption of adult teeth: The molars erupt around 5 to 7 months of age.
Number: There are 2 molar in the upper left and 2 molar in the upper right. Then there are 3 molars in lower right and 3 molar in the lower left quadrant.
All deciduous teeth should be loss around 6 to 7 months of age. If a tooth should be retained (not fallen out) and not loose (wiggly), we will remove it surgically at the time of their spay or neuter surgery. Toy and miniature breeds are more commonly affected with retained teeth. Prolonged retention of deciduous teeth can cause permanent teeth to erupt incorrectly which can cause tooth displacement, overcrowding, and even an abnormal bite (overbite or underbite).