My Dog’s Tooth Fell Out: Understanding Dog Tooth Loss

Medical articles
loose teeth in dogs and cats

Ever heard that familiar clink-clink as your dog crunches through kibble? It's a melody to every pet parent's ears, a sign of happy chomping and good health. But just like our own pearly whites, those furry jaws aren't invincible.  

Dental problems are as common to dogs and cats as they are to human beings. Pets can break or crack a tooth from chewing on hard objects or from trauma such as being hit by a car. As pets get older, if dental disease is not regularly addressed and managed, teeth may become loose or wiggly. Below are some common questions and answers about tooth problems among pets. 

What If My Pet’s Tooth is Loose or Wiggly? 

Often, loose teeth are the result of periodontal disease in dogs and cats. Imagine this: you've neglected that floss your dentist keeps suggesting, and now your gums are a little puffy, maybe even a bit sensitive. It's not ideal, right? Well, for pups, that's kind of what periodontal disease is like. When plaque and bacteria build up on their teeth, they irritate the gums, just like those neglected flossing sessions for us. Over time, this irritation weakens the structures holding their teeth in place, like the anchors for their pearly whites. Think of it like the roots of a tree slowly loosening in the soil. Inflammation and infection from dental tartar and bacteria living in the mouth wear away at the structures keeping the teeth in place and can lead to a dog’s teeth falling out.  

These structures include the gums (“gingiva”), ligaments attaching the teeth to the bones (“periodontal ligament”), and the bones in the skull themselves which hold the teeth (“mandible” and “maxilla”). The good news? This whole wobbly tooth drama is super preventable! Just like that daily brushing routine keeps our smiles sparkling, regular teeth brushing and yearly dental cleanings for our furry friends can work wonders. 

Over time, periodontal disease can lead to bone loss; periodontal ligament breakdown; and loose, diseased teeth. While a dog dental cleaning cost or a cat dental cleaning cost might seem like a splurge, think of it this way: it's way cheaper than dealing with painful tooth extractions or even worse, potential health issues down the line. 

If you notice a loose tooth in your pet, don't panic! A trip to the vet will help determine if the tooth can be saved or needs to be removed. In some cases, a root canal might be an option, but it's important to discuss the cost and complexity with your vet before making a decision. 

My Pet Lost a Tooth! What Should I Do? 

Uh oh, your dog lost a tooth! You might be wondering, "Do dogs teeth fall out?" or "Why did my dog's canine tooth fall out?" It's a common concern, and while losing a single tooth isn't usually an emergency, a trip to the vet is your best bet for peace of mind. Unfortunately, not much can be done for a tooth that falls out. In older pets, tooth loss may be the result of periodontal disease. In younger adult pets, tooth loss may be due to a traumatic event. You should take your pet to the veterinarian to ensure that the entire tooth fell out. If a tooth breaks below the gum line, this may lead to pain and infection over time. In these cases, extraction of the portion of the tooth left behind is often necessary. 

While a missing tooth might not be the end of the world, a visit to the vet is always the safest and most reliable way to keep your furry friend's mouth healthy and happy. Don't let those canine questions go unanswered – get your pup's smile checked out and put those "dog lost tooth" worries to rest! 

What Should I Do If My Pet Breaks a Tooth? 

Small tooth chips and breaks are not uncommon among pets. Some pets will actually wear their teeth down over time if they are aggressive or chronic “chewers.” The biggest concern with a broken tooth is if the pulp cavity within the roots of the tooth is exposed to the harsh environment of the mouth. The pulp cavity contains the nerves and vessels of the tooth. If a tooth is broken and this part of the tooth is no longer protected, pain and infection can occur. 

Is A Broken or Missing Tooth an Emergency? 

A dog missing a tooth or a broken tooth could be a result of ongoing decay or a specific trauma.  Did a tooth disappear without a dramatic crack or clatter? No worries, "my dog lost his tooth" is a surprisingly common concern. Understanding the why and what-to-do is key to keeping your furry friend's pearly whites healthy. 

Lost to sneaky decay: Sometimes, dog teeth falling out is a sign of sneaky gum disease. Over time, plaque and tartar build up, weakening the tooth's support system like sneaky little villains. If it's a single broken tooth, often without blood, extraction might be the gentlest option to prevent future pain and issues. But if caught early, a root canal might be a hero, saving the tooth while tackling the gum disease underneath. 

Lost to a playful mishap: Did your pup become a chew toy casualty, or maybe have a canine collision with the coffee table? Trauma-induced missing teeth warrant a vet visit ASAP. A small chip might just need a filing to smooth things over. But if the crack exposes the root or inner part of the tooth (the pulp), ouch! That can lead to big pain and infection. In these cases, extraction is often the kindest way to avoid further trouble. But don't despair! For special teeth like canines, even a fractured tooth might be saved with a root canal. 

Remember, any dog teeth falling out is cause for concern, even if it's not an emergency. A quick trip to the vet is your best bet to prevent pain, infection, and keep your dog's overall health sparkling. Your vet is the dental detective who can figure out the best course of action, from simple procedures to advanced dental treatments, all to get your furry friend's smile back in tip-top shape. 

Is my Dog in Pain if Their Tooth Fell Out? 

Dog lost a tooth? Don't panic, but don't shrug it off either! Canine tooth loss, whether a single missing tooth or a "My dog's teeth are falling out!" scenario, can be a source of worry for pet parents. While the reasons can vary, understanding your dog's potential discomfort is key. Just as humans experience discomfort from dental issues, pets are equally susceptible to pain. If your pet's tooth fell out, it might have been preceded by a period of discomfort due to underlying dental problems.  

But don't be fooled by furried stoicism! Watch for clues like excessive drooling, bleeding or discharge from the mouth, red or swollen gums, and persistent bad breath. Has your dog become a "one-sided chewer," avoiding hard food like the kibble police are after them? Even a seemingly painless loss, like a tooth that fell out with no blood, might indicate weakened roots from severe gum disease. 

Remember, a missing tooth, even if it doesn't involve a dramatic "dogs teeth falling out" clatter, isn't just a cosmetic concern. It's a potential red flag waving from your pup's chompers. Don't let "my dog lost his tooth" turn into a mystery novel of pain and discomfort. A veterinarian's expertise is crucial. Through a thorough examination and potentially diagnostic imaging, they can pinpoint the cause of the lost tooth and assess the presence and extent of pain. From dental surgery to pain medication, your vet can offer a range of solutions to address both the discomfort and the underlying issues. 

Remember, timely veterinary intervention can prevent your pet from suffering in silence and can manage any underlying issues that led to the tooth loss. This way, "My dog lost his tooth" can transition from a moment of worry to an opportunity to improve your pet's dental and overall health. 

Will My Pet Be Able to Eat Kibble or Hard Food After Losing a Tooth? 

Generally, adult dogs have 42 teeth, and adult cats have 30 teeth. Extracting or losing a few teeth is probably not going to affect them at all once the mouth has healed. The gums and roof of a cat or dog’s mouth is so tough that many pets can continue to eat hard food with few or no teeth at all. If your pet has been dealing with a tooth issue for a while, having the diseased tooth extracted may actually lead to your pet eating more, because he or she feels better. 

What About Puppy or Kitten Teeth? 

Do puppies lose teeth? Yes, but broken “baby” teeth may still need to be removed. Although these teeth should fall out eventually, a broken baby tooth with root or pulp exposure can still lead to infection and pain. Loose teeth or missing teeth are quite common among pets aged 10 weeks to 9 months. If your kitten's or puppy’s tooth fell out—don't worry, their teeth fall out and are replaced by adult teeth, just like us humans. If you are worried, contact your veterinarian for an examination to ensure everything is normal. 

Believe it or not, the most common tooth problem in young pets are puppy or kitten teeth that don’t fall out. This is seen most often in smaller breed dogs. Baby teeth, also known as “deciduous” or “primary” teeth, normally have all fallen out by about 6 to 9 months of age. When they don’t fall out, this can lead to impaction or prevention of the adult teeth from coming up to the surface of the gums (“eruption”). It can also lead to adult teeth erupting incorrectly, leading to abnormal positioning of the adult teeth, and possibly difficulty in closing the mouth.  

Baby teeth that don’t fall out can also crowd the adult teeth that do erupt, leading to extra tartar formation and earlier onset of periodontal disease. Your veterinarian will likely want to extract these persistent baby teeth to prevent these issues from occurring. In some cases, this can be done while your pet is under anesthesia for another procedure such as their neuter or spay. If impaction or abnormal positioning occurs, your veterinarian may want to extract them immediately, rather than waiting, so that the adult teeth will position themselves normally. 

Securing Pet Dental Insurance Ahead of Time  

Before dental issues arise, it’s wise to consider pet dental insurance. Embrace Pet Insurance provides coverage for various dental accidents and illnesses, including broken teeth, extractions, and periodontal disease in our regular pet insurance. While regular cleanings are essential for preventing dental diseases, they are not included in standard accident and illness coverage. However, Embrace does offer a pet wellness plan, an optional, non-insurance plan that reimburses you for routine dental care and more. 

With statistics indicating that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats may suffer from some form of periodontal disease by age 2, being prepared with a good insurance plan can save you from unexpected expenses and provide the best care for your pet's dental health 

Keeping Your Pet's Dental Health on Track 

Remember, a missing tooth isn't just a cosmetic concern.  It could be a sneaky symptom of underlying issues like painful gum disease, infection, or even bone loss. Leaving it unchecked can not only cause your dog discomfort, but also impact their overall health and well-being. 

A missing tooth or a chipped canine doesn't have to be a canine catastrophe. With a swift trip to the vet and a proactive approach to dental care, you can keep your furry friend's smile sparkling and their overall health wagging its tail. After all, a healthy smile is the best accessory a dog can wear!