Pets and People

5 Common Dog Tooth Problems

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For puppies, loose teeth aren't a problem. Just like humans, their first set of teeth, called deciduous teeth, need to fall out to make room for their larger, permanent teeth. Between 4 and 6 months old, your pup will have frequent loose teeth. You may even find some cast-off ones in his bedding or around the house. By the time he's about 7 or 8 months old, he should well on his way to sporting a new set of 42 adult teeth.

While all this activity is going on, periodically check inside your puppy's mouth. Retained baby teeth are common -- the deciduous tooth hasn't completely fallen out, but the adult tooth is coming in. If you see two teeth occupying one spot in your puppy's mouth, check with your vet, who can help get the baby tooth out of the way. Otherwise, the adult tooth may come in crooked, possibly causing later problems.

For an adult dog, a loose tooth is more suspect. It usually results from trauma to the mouth or from gum loss due to advanced periodontal disease. It may also be a sign of illness.

Visit your vet if your adult dog has a loose tooth. She may do an X-ray to examine the tooth's root or conduct an overall exam to screen for health issues. In almost all cases, a loose tooth won't correct itself, so your vet may suggest an extraction.

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