Retained Temporary / Milk Teeth
Retained temporary (or milk) teeth is a relatively common problem in cats and dogs.
The general rule is that two teeth of the same tooth should not be present in the mouth at the same time.
The problem appears to be more common in dogs than in cats and in toy breeds especially - but any breed can be affected. Equally - any tooth can be affected, but the most commonly noted are the canines and the incisor teeth.
|The green arrows show the retained temporary teeth, the blue arrows show the pernament teeth which have been deviated into incorrect positions. Notice the buildup of plaque, calculus and the early gingivitis already starting between the two canines.|
Left untreated retained temporary teeth will cause problems. Because they are situated too close to the adult tooth, there is insufficient space for "self cleaning" to occur (from the flow of saliva and the action of the tongue). Therefore they predispose to the development of periodontal disease - which can result in the loss of the temporary and the permanent (secondary) teeth.
The retained teeth may also deviate the adult teeth into the incorrect position - perhaps leading to them traumatising the roof of the mouth.
This is one of the "chicken and egg" questions - did the secondary/permanent tooth erupt in the 'wrong' place, allowing the temporary tooth to remain. Or did the root of the temporary tooth not resorb in a normal manner - deviating the development of the secondary tooth..... Either way the retained temporary tooth needs removing.
Removing the retained temporary tooth has to be done carefully to avoid damage to the erupting pernament tooth. Often these cases are referred to a specialised veterinary dental practice.
Retained temporary teeth is probably genetically linked, breeders should be aware of this and try to avoid breeding from affected individuals.
As a rule all retained temporary teeth should be removed.
Did You Know?
Lift the Lip!
The whole mouth has to be examined - often the back teeth can be terrible, we have to look under the lip.