Missing Teeth

Dogs normally have 42 adult teeth. Cats normally have 30. Occasionally, patients have less teeth than expected. Either the animal was not born with the tooth or it is impacted below the gum line.

Treatment for Impacted Teeth:

When the impacted tooth is oriented normally:
  • Patients younger than nine months — Perform an operculectomy, removing the gingival impediment and allowing the tooth to erupt.
  • Patients nine months and up — Extract the tooth because once the root apex is closed, the tooth’s emerging force has ceased.
When the impacted tooth is abnormally oriented, extract the tooth.

Visibly missing lower first premolar

X-ray shows tooth present and in normal orientation

Treatment: If the patient is less than nine months old, remove a small amount of gum tissue on top of the impacted tooth to allow unimpeded eruption. If older, extract the tooth.

Visibly missing lower first premolars

First premolars present but oriented in a non-functional position. They should be extracted.

Normal right lower jaw with four teeth between the canine and first molar

Left side — only three teeth visible between the canine and first premolar

First premolar impacted below the gum line causing a cyst that extends to the second premolar

Treatment: Extract the first and second premolar and remove the cyst wall.

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