Exploring the Fascinating Process of Tooth Eruption

The process of a tooth moving from its place of development within the bone to its functional position within the oral cavity is known as tooth eruption. The permanent (adult) dentition and the deciduous (baby, temporary) dentition are the two sets of teeth that dogs and cats have. In a process that is essential for the growth of a strong and functioning dental structure, their permanent teeth replace their deciduous (baby) teeth. Come with us as we explain and explore the process of tooth eruption!

Teeth start to erupt in puppies and kittens a few weeks after birth but do not have noticeable crowns at birth.

Here is a timeline of when teeth often erupt in dogs and cats:


Incisors (front teeth): The deciduous incisors begin to erupt at about three to four weeks of age, and the permanent incisors follow at about three to five months.

Deciduous canines (fangs) appear after 3 to 5 weeks, whereas permanent canines appear after 4 to 6 months.

Premolars and Molars: Around 4 to 5 weeks of age, deciduous premolars and molars start to erupt. Premolars and molars that are permanent typically erupt between the ages of 4 and 7 months.


Incisors: Around 2 to 3 weeks of age, the deciduous incisors start to erupt, and 3 to 4 months is normally when the permanent incisors erupt.

Canines: Deciduous canines normally appear between 3 and 4 weeks after birth, whereas permanent canines do so between 3 and 5 months.

Premolars and Molars: Deciduous premolars and molars begin to erupt at the age of three to four weeks, while permanent premolars and molars appear at the age of four to five months.

What Can I Do To Prepare for Puppy or Kitten Teething?

During the tooth eruption process, you might notice that the puppy or kitten experiences some discomfort and may chew on objects more than usual to alleviate the discomfort associated with teething. It’s important to provide appropriate chew toys to help soothe their gums during this time.

As a responsible pet owner, it’s crucial to keep track of your pet’s dental development and consult with a veterinarian if you notice any abnormalities, such as retained deciduous teeth, overcrowding, or misalignment. Regular dental care and professional check-ups are essential to ensure your pet’s oral health and overall well-being. If there are any concerns, your veterinarian can recommend appropriate treatments or interventions to ensure proper dental development.

Retained deciduous teeth, also known as retained puppy teeth or retained baby teeth, are a dental condition that can occur in dogs, and sometimes (very seldom) in cats. Normally, the process of shedding deciduous teeth and replacing them with permanent teeth is relatively seamless.

However, in some cases, a dog’s adult teeth can start growing in before the deciduous teeth have fully fallen out. This results in a situation where both the baby tooth and the permanent tooth are present in the mouth at the same time. This condition is known as “retained deciduous teeth.”


The length of the root compared to the crown


This small dog breed has retained deciduous canines and incisors


This photo shows the upper retained deciduous canine tooth and permanent canine tooth.












Are there certain dog breeds that are more susceptible to having retained deciduous teeth?

The rule of dental succession specifies there should be no two teeth of the same type in the same place at the same time. Contrary to the popular belief that a baby tooth will eventually “fall out”, certain breeds are more prone to experiencing retained deciduous teeth compared to others. This tendency can be due to factors such as the breed’s size, genetics, and facial structure. Breeds with brachycephalic (short-nosed) facial features or those with small jaws may be more susceptible to this issue. Some dog breeds that are known to have a higher incidence of retained deciduous teeth include:

Brachycephalic Breeds:

  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs (English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs, etc.)
  • Boston Terriers
  • Shih Tzus
  • Boxers

Toy and Small Breeds:

  • Chihuahuas
  • Yorkshire Terriers
  • Maltese
  • Pomeranians
  • Dachshunds (miniature)

Other Breeds:

  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Shetland Sheepdogs
  • Miniature Schnauzers


Keep in mind that while certain breeds might have a higher predisposition to retained deciduous teeth, any dog can potentially experience this issue. Regular dental check-ups and monitoring your dog’s dental development can help catch and address any problems early on.

If you’re getting a puppy from a breed that is prone to retained deciduous teeth, it’s a good idea to work closely with your veterinarian to ensure proper dental care and development. Regular dental examinations and, if necessary, timely removal of retained baby teeth can help prevent dental issues and ensure your dog’s oral health.


Retained deciduous teeth can lead to several potential issues:

Dental misalignment: The presence of both baby and permanent teeth in the mouth can lead to misalignment and crowding of the teeth. This can cause issues with how the dog’s bite fits together, leading to discomfort or difficulty eating.

Increased risk of dental disease: The crowded and misaligned teeth can create spaces where food and debris can become trapped, increasing the risk of dental plaque buildup, tartar accumulation, and gum disease.

Soft tissue problems: Retained deciduous teeth can sometimes cause irritation to the surrounding gums and oral tissues due to the pressure they exert.

Malocclusion: Malocclusion refers to improper alignment of the teeth when the jaws are closed. This can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty in eating.

Permanent tooth damage: The retained baby teeth might push against the emerging adult teeth, potentially causing damage to the developing adult teeth.

To address this issue, veterinary intervention is often required. If your dog is experiencing retained deciduous teeth, your veterinarian may recommend a dental examination. In some cases, the retained baby teeth may be removed to allow the adult teeth to grow in properly. This procedure might involve a simple extraction or surgical removal, depending on the specific situation.

It’s important to regularly monitor your dog’s dental development. Consult a vet if you suspect any issues. Good dental care is crucial for your dog’s overall health and well-being.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your pets oral health, please give our office a call at 623-377-5050.