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  • Writer's pictureClinique Vet LaSalle

Juvenile dentition

Updated: May 24, 2023

Just like humans, puppies and kittens are born without any teeth. Slowly, the baby teeth, also known as deciduous teeth, will start erupting. Those first teeth will pierce the gums as soon as 2 weeks of age for kittens and 3 weeks of age for puppies.

Once all the deciduous teeth are present, they will start falling out between 4 and 7 months of age. During that transition, you may find baby teeth on the floor or your animal may swallow them. It’s normal! That adorable baby breath might not be as sweet either. It’s normal! You might even notice a small line of gingivitis above the erupting adult teeth.

Some animals will have a permanent (adult) tooth erupting next to the corresponding deciduous tooth., for example, a permanent canine erupting in front of the deciduous one. This baby tooth is called a “persistent” or “retained” tooth. Those two teeth can coexist a couple of weeks, but past a certain age, the retained tooth must be extracted. Not extracting the baby tooth may lead to problems on the short or long term. Here are some examples :

  • The permanent tooth may erupt in the wrong position, causing malocclusion

  • Local gingivitis and periodontal disease due to crowding

  • Oronasal fistula (formation of a passage between the nasal cavity and the mouth)

We recommend having x-rays taken of retained teeth to screen for any other abnormalities. The retained teeth should then be extracted.

Should I brush my puppy's/kitten’s teeth?

Young animals should get used to having their mouth manipulated. Daily, you should use your fingers to gently rub your pet’s gums. Doing so will have your pet understanding that having its mouth manipulated does not lead to pain or discomfort. During teeth transition, gums can be quite sensitive, so we recommend you to wait before introducing the toothbrush in your pet’s routine. Why? Because a kitten or puppy with sensitive gums can get hurt by the toothbrush and so develop an aversion to the brushing tool. Once the teeth transition is complete, you can slowly start introducing methods to keeping their brand new teeth sparkling!

If you have questions or need help in the dental department, contact your veterinary team!

Myriam G.

Certified animal health technician

Customer Service Supevisor

Fear Free certified

Picture #1 : Babette B. / Picture #2 : Inconnu / Picture #3 : Maggie / Picture #4 : Inconnu

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