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Retained Primary (Deciduous or Puppy) Teeth

No two teeth of the same type should ever be in the mouth at the same time.

Dogs and cats, just like humans, have two sets of teeth. The first set is known by several names: milk teeth, baby teeth, puppy (or kitten) teeth, deciduous teeth, or primary teeth. The second set comprises the adult or permanent teeth.  The primary tooth should always be shed as the permanent tooth cuts through the gum.  But sometimes the root of the primary tooth does not dissolve and the tooth remains firmly held in the jaw. The permanent tooth then “glances off” the retained primary tooth and erupts through the gum at an improper angle.


All retained teeth should be extracted as soon as the condition is recognized. If the extractions are performed early, the abnormally positioned adult tooth usually moves over to fill the void and assumes a more correct position. The removal of retained deciduous teeth is an inexpensive, simple way to prevent major problems from developing in the adult dentition.

If retained primary teeth are allowed to remain in the mouth, the teeth become crowded, rotated, or tilted at abnormal angles.

This will result in

·         early onset and increased severity of gum disease

·         damage to the soft tissues of the mouth,  due to sharp teeth penetrating unprotected gum and mouth tissues

·         pain, in the joints of the jaw as well as in the gums, lips, and teeth

·         excessive wear,  when abnormally aligned teeth grind against other teeth and weaken them



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Virginia Veterinary Dentistry
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 434-823-1671
 Charlottesville, Virginia
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