Do Dog Molars Fall Out?

It’s normal for dogs, including their molars, to lose their baby teeth as adult teeth grow in. This is part of the natural tooth development process that all puppies go through. Just like in humans, dogs have two sets of teeth in their lifetimes – baby teeth (deciduous teeth) and adult teeth (permanent teeth).

As puppies grow, their adult teeth will develop underneath their baby teeth. Around 3-5 months of age, those adult teeth will grow in, resorbing the roots of the baby teeth and causing them to loosen and fall out. This is known as teething. During this time, puppies will go through the process of losing their baby teeth and having them replaced by stronger, permanent adult teeth. This includes the molars in the back of their mouth.

Losing baby teeth and growing in permanent teeth is an important developmental stage for all puppies. It allows them to transition from having smaller, sharper puppy teeth to larger, stronger adult teeth that they will use to eat and chew throughout adulthood. While the process can sometimes be uncomfortable for puppies as the teeth loosen and fall out, it is completely normal and not a cause for concern.

Dog Dentition

Dogs have four main types of teeth: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. Each type serves a different function for eating and chewing.

Incisors are the small, chisel-shaped teeth in the front of the mouth. Dogs have six incisors on the top and six on the bottom. Incisors help grip and bite off pieces of food (Purina).

Canine teeth, also called fangs or cuspids, are located behind the incisors. Dogs have two on the top and two on the bottom. These are pointed teeth that help puncture and hold food (Nylabone).

Premolars and molars are located further back in the mouth. Premolars grip and tear food, while molars crush and grind it. Adult dogs have a total of 16 premolars and 10 molars (Nylabone).

Together, these four types of teeth allow dogs to bite, chew, and break down their food.

Puppy Teeth

Puppies are born without teeth. They develop a set of deciduous (baby) teeth around 3-4 weeks of age (1). These deciduous teeth, also called milk teeth or puppy teeth, include incisors, canines, and premolars. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth in total (2).

The deciduous teeth serve the puppy while their jaws are still developing and growing. However, these teeth eventually fall out just like they do for human babies. Adult teeth will then come in to replace the puppy teeth starting around 16 weeks old (3). This process of shedding deciduous teeth and their replacement by permanent adult teeth is known as teething.

Sources:

(1) https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/training/15-facts-about-puppy-growth/

(2) https://quizlet.com/605998006/dentistry-vet-tech-prep-flash-cards/

Molar Development

Puppies develop deciduous (temporary or milk) teeth starting at around 3-4 weeks old. The molars are the last set of puppy teeth to erupt, with the deciduous molars emerging around 4-6 months old. There are no premolars in the puppy dental formula, so the molars are positioned further back in the mouth behind the canine teeth.

The permanent adult molars will develop underneath the deciduous molars. At around 4-7 months old, the permanent molars will start pushing the roots of the deciduous molars up as they grow in. This loosening process causes the deciduous molars to become wobbly and eventually fall out as the permanent molars push through and take their place. The full set of 42 permanent adult teeth, including the molars, is usually fully emerged by around 6-7 months old.

So in summary, puppies develop their deciduous molars around 4-6 months old, which are then replaced by the permanent molars erupting underneath between 4-7 months old.

Tooth Replacement Process

Puppies are born without teeth. At around 3-4 weeks old, their deciduous or “baby” teeth will start to come in. Puppies have 28 deciduous teeth – 12 incisors, 4 canines, and 12 premolars. The incisors and canines come in first, starting at around 3 weeks old, followed by the premolars over the next few weeks.

Deciduous teeth are gradually replaced by permanent adult teeth starting at around 4 months old. Dogs have 42 permanent teeth – 12 incisors, 4 canines, 16 premolars, and 10 molars. The incisors are replaced first, then the canines, premolars, and finally molars. Full adult dentition is usually complete by around 6-7 months old.

The permanent teeth develop right behind the deciduous teeth. As the permanent teeth grow in, they put pressure on the roots of deciduous teeth and cause them to loosen and fall out, making room for the new teeth. This is a normal developmental process known as exfoliation. The falling out of deciduous teeth allows for the proper alignment and growth of permanent teeth.

Puppies will go through teething as adult teeth erupt. Some mild gum pain and teething discomfort is normal during this process. Most deciduous teeth are naturally pushed out by incoming permanent teeth. However, some may need to be removed by a veterinarian if they do not fall out on their own.

Exfoliation is usually complete by around 6 months old when the adult teeth have finished erupting. Adult dogs have all their permanent dentition, although the third molars (last upper molars) may continue to erupt until around 9 months old.

Signs of Teething

There are several signs that indicate a puppy is teething. According to Zoetis Petcare, common signs of puppy teething include:

  • Red and inflamed gums
  • Mild discomfort in the jaw
  • Drooling
  • Smelly breath
  • Increased or excessive chewing behavior
  • Bleeding gums

Additional signs outlined by ZigZag Dog include an increase in chewing, bleeding or swollen gums, drooling more than usual, and eating slower than normal.

It’s important for owners to watch for these signs during the teething phase so they can provide proper care to relieve any discomfort the puppy may experience.

Caring for Teething Puppy

Teething can be uncomfortable for puppies, so it’s important to provide some relief during this stage. Here are some tips for caring for a teething puppy:

Give your puppy safe chew toys, like frozen washcloths, to help soothe their gums. The cold temperature helps numb pain and the texture gives their mouth something to work on (Source 1). Rotate different textures like rubber, rope, and soft plush toys to keep them engaged.

Make sure your puppy has access to chilled water to help relieve swollen gums. You can also try freezing dog-safe broth into ice cube trays for them to chew on (Source 2).

Gently massage your puppy’s gums with your finger to stimulate blood flow and help loosen teeth that are ready to come out. This can provide some relief from soreness.

Use chew toys and treats designed to promote dental health, like enzymatic toothpaste and rubber teething rings. The chewing action scrapes away plaque while giving their mouth something constructive to work on.

Make sure your puppy gets adequate rest during teething. Overtired puppies tend to chew and nip more, so give them a calm space to relax.

Problems to Watch For

One of the most common issues to watch for with puppy teeth is retained deciduous teeth, also called persistent baby teeth. This occurs when the puppy’s adult tooth erupts alongside the retained baby tooth rather than replacing it as intended (Source). The adult and baby teeth essentially end up stacked on top of each other. Retained deciduous teeth should be extracted by a vet to avoid dental problems down the road.

Other potential problems include fractures, infection, or abnormal wear of the puppy teeth. Careful monitoring during the teething process can help catch issues early. Signs of trouble include loose teeth that don’t fall out, swollen or bleeding gums, teeth that appear damaged or infected, and obvious pain or difficulty eating (Source). A veterinarian should evaluate any concerns to determine next steps.

While molars eventually fall out and are replaced, retained deciduous incisors, canines, and premolars often require extraction. Leaving them in place can lead to crooked adult teeth, gum disease, and other oral health issues. Addressing any puppy tooth problems promptly leads to better long-term dental health.

When to See the Vet

If your puppy is experiencing any unusual symptoms while teething, it’s a good idea to visit the vet. Some signs that may indicate underlying dental issues requiring veterinary attention include:

Excessive drooling or difficulty eating due to mouth pain

Swelling of the gums, face, or mouth

Loose teeth that don’t appear to be baby teeth or adult teeth coming in

Discharge or bleeding from the mouth

Loss of appetite or other signs of lethargy

While some mild symptoms are normal during teething, persistent or severe issues could signify a problem like an infection or fracture that needs treatment. Don’t hesitate to visit the vet if you have any concerns about your puppy’s dental health or teething process.

Routine preventative dental exams are also recommended, even for puppies, to identify any potential problems early. Your vet can assess your puppy’s teeth development and let you know if professional cleaning or other care may be needed.

Conclusion

In summary, molars falling out is a normal part of a puppy’s development as their adult teeth come in to replace their deciduous puppy teeth. Just like human babies, puppies teethe as they grow, and their molars are no exception. The tooth replacement process usually begins around 3-4 months of age and continues until the puppy is about 6-7 months old.

While this is a natural process, it’s still important to monitor your puppy’s oral health during this time. Signs of teething discomfort or dental issues should be addressed with your veterinarian. Providing safe chew toys, brushing their teeth, and regular vet checkups will help set your puppy up for good dental health into adulthood.

Though losing molars can be alarming for pet owners at first, rest assured it is simply a rite of passage on the way to your puppy’s permanent smile. With proper care and awareness of normal teething behaviors, this transition period will pass smoothly.

Scroll to Top