Skip to main content
Dental CareDental DiseaseRetained baby teethUncategorized

Dental Care Starts at an Early Age

By November 6, 2019 January 26th, 2023 No Comments

Lili is a sweet Havanese mix puppy who came to Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital soon after her family adopted her at 10 months old.  She had received minimal veterinary care prior to seeing Dr. Riedinger.

After the initial visit with Dr. Riedinger, Lili was caught up on her vaccines and a plan was made to schedule her spay surgery and to remove some baby teeth that were still present even though the adult teeth had come in.

Photo shows the retained deciduous ‘baby’ canine tooth. You can also see moderate tartar (tan material) on the teeth.

This is the left upper retained deciduous ‘baby’ canine tooth. There is already tartar caught between the adult and baby tooth and accumulating on the back teeth.

Lili’s blood work and urinalysis looked great and she was ready for her procedure at Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital.  While under anesthesia Dr. Riedinger was able to fully evaluate her mouth.  We took x-rays of all of Lili’s teeth and found that she was missing a few.  This is important to know because if those teeth were sitting below the gum line they can lead to cyst formation and serious problems very quickly.

Lili also had quite a bit of tartar and gingivitis for a 10-month-old dog, including moderate periodontal disease around the retained baby teeth.  This just shows how quickly plaque and tartar can cause inflammation and deeper problems in dogs.  If these teeth were not extracted at a young age, they would likely have developed bony problems that lead long term issues with the jaw and permanent canine teeth.


Red outline shows tooth root still intact below the gum line. Dental radiographs are necessary to see the full extent of the root and surgical extraction is a delicate process. It’s important to get retained baby teeth out while not causing damage to the adult tooth.

Red outline shows the left upper ‘baby’ tooth root still present. Notice the wide canals inside the developing adult teeth. Once the tooth is fully developed, the canal will become narrow.

Lily’s retained baby teeth were an obvious problem that our doctors at Hawthorne Hills Veterinary Hospital are trained to watch out for, but early periodontitis can occur in any dog.

Eighty percent of all dogs past the age of 3 have evidence of periodontal disease and this incidence increases with dogs that have pre-existing dental issues like malformed or crooked teeth (we are looking at you Pugs and Bulldogs).

You will hear the doctors at Hawthorne Hills talk about dental care very early in your pets’ life and the importance of getting full mouth x-rays during dental procedures to see what is hiding beneath those gums. Early intervention can make a significant difference.


Additional Information:

Veterinary Partner article: Retained Baby Teeth

American Veterinary Dental College – Pet Owner Resources


Leave a Reply