Your pet is missing teeth. No big deal you may think, but that is not entirely true.
If your pet is genuinely missing teeth, you are correct, that it is not a big deal at all. The real problem arises when your dog has teeth hiding under the gums but for some reason, they have not cut through the gumline. If this happens, the bone around the offending tooth begins to soften, creating a ‘cave’ for this tooth to float around in. Over time the broken bone begins to spread, creating a larger and larger cave around the tooth. This ‘growing cave’ damages the bone around the teeth nearby, and can potentially cause the jaw to break.
To diagnose this issue, we check your dog’s teeth when he/she is in the hospital for a neuter or spay. At 6 months old all your pet’s adult teeth should be in and all the baby teeth should have fallen out. If teeth are missing, we will recommend a dental radiograph. If a tooth is found to be hiding, we will need to extract it. Removing the unerupted tooth solves the problem.
This condition can occur in any breed of dog, but we see it most often in brachycephalic type dogs such as Bull Dogs, Boxers and Shih Tzu’s.
Written by Darlene Cannon, RVT