Pippin is a friendly bundle of joy. This 11month-old adorable Maltese Mix dog is our Pet of the Month for October. Extra teeth are often a part of someone’s costume for Halloween and a fun and silly prop that can be easily removed. However, Pippin had multiple deciduous teeth that never came out as they should have. This posed a problem and needed to be fixed. It is fitting that we are profiling him in October.

Even from a young age, Pippin had some challenges with his teeth. His lower canine teeth were poking into the upper gumline. This is something we see fairly often in smaller breed dogs. Base narrow malocclusions, if left untreated can lead to pain and damage to the adult teeth, gums and bone. We started Pippin on ‘Ball Therapy’ when he was only 8weeks old to try and move the lower canines into a better position as he was growing. His owner worked with him regularly using a Kong® toy and a Chuckit!° ball.

The ball therapy helped Pippin’s teeth move, into a more normal position. Yet, in July during his developmental exam we found that his adult teeth were coming in but the baby teeth had not fallen out. This creates several problems:

  • The emerging adult tooth is forced into the wrong position leading to new malocclusions
  • The malocclusion(s) can sometimes be painful if the teeth impact the gumline or palate
  • Tartar gets caught between the deciduous and adult teeth, contributing to gum disease and possibly tooth infections

You can see from the photos, the extra incisors (on the top), extra canine teeth (all four) and one retained premolar on the left upper arcade. The red stars label the teeth that we ultimately extracted. The green arrows point to several of the adult teeth which were being displaced because the deciduous tooth was still present.  Over time, we are hopeful that these teeth will move into their normal positions.

In all, Pippin had 11 deciduous teeth that needed to be extracted. We decided to plan the extractions for the same time as his neutering procedure. We are pleased to note that he did great under the  anesthesia and has made a full recovery. We will continue monitoring his teeth to ensure that they are all moving into their normal positions. Ongoing home care will be important to slow the build up of tartar.

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