The Process of Teething

teething, Teeth - By Melissa Mathews on Thursday, June 24, 2010 - 16:01

Anyone that has ever owned a puppy knows that teething is a nightmare.  Teething is the process in which a puppy's body sheds their needle sharp deciduous a.k.a. puppy teeth and replaces them with adult teeth.   When a puppy is born they are born without teeth.  At 4 weeks of age they begin developing puppy teeth that push through their gums.  At 6 weeks of age a puppy should have all their puppy teeth in place.  They will stay there until around 3 months of age.  At this point the jaw is developed enough and the adult teeth begin to push the puppy teeth out of the mouth as they descend. 

Much like teething in humans as the adult teeth in dogs normally grow directly above puppy teeth and push the puppy teeth out of the way as they enter the mouth.  This teething process can be painful and down right annoying.  It is at this stage that puppies begin to chew anything they can get their teeth on to alleviate the painful pressure and itching.  It is at this time that you should provide your puppy with plenty of teething toys, use bitter spray or hide things you don't want eaten and keep a very close eye on your pup.

Your puppies incisors are the first to push through at around 3-5 months.  You might notice your dog licking the air in an attempt to aid the process and get loose puppy teeth out of the way.  Typically dogs swallow the teeth but if you keep a close watch you can often find one or two about.  By 6-7 months your dog should have a full set of adult teeth.  Below is the typical schedule for teething.

Incisors 3 - 5 months
Canine    4 - 6 months
Premolars 4 - 5 months
Molars    5 - 7 months

Your dog should have a full set of adult teeth around 7-8 months.  This is typically comprised of 42 teeth, however some breeds like Dobermans have fewer then 42 and some breeds like Greyhounds have more.

Sometimes problems can arise in some cases the adult teeth never descent.  In the event of spaces in a dogs mouth where teeth should be a vet can xray the dog to see if the tooth is hiding in the jaw.  Variations occure in dogs and in some cases they just have fewer teeth.  Another problem arises when a puppy tooth fails to fall out.  This occures when the adult tooth does not develop directly over the puppy tooth.  This is most commonly seen with canine teeth and will often cause crowding between the teeth causing pain, bite problems, decay and injury to the teeth.   A vet can remove any puppy teeth that decide to hang on a little too long.

To learn more about the placement of the teeth in your dogs mouth read our article The Anatomy Of Your Dogs Teeth.

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