Every dog owner should have a habit of looking into their dog’s mouth, particularly Chihuahua owners and those who own toy breed mixes and other small dogs. Small dogs have tiny mouths that tend to be overcrowded, making them more vulnerable to tartar buildup and dental diseases.
To make matters worse for our little ones, some Chihuahuas have retained puppy teeth. By the time your Chihuahua is 9 months old, all of her puppy teeth should have fallen out, and been replaced with larger adult teeth. Sometimes the puppy tooth does not fall out, and the adult tooth grows in next to it.
As the adult tooth grows in beneath the puppy tooth, it actually dissolves the roots of the puppy tooth. Fascinating, but troublesome if the adult tooth comes in next to it – the roots of the puppy tooth may remain, keeping it firmly in place, so no amount of tug-o-war or bone-chewing can dislodge it. Just surgery.
Why Retained Puppy Teeth Need To Be Removed
The retained puppy tooth and adult tooth may be positioned right next to each other, or even overlap. This closeness can make it very difficult for tartar to be dislodged with regular chewing or brushing.
Also, the adult tooth will not be able to grow into the correct position. This can lead to tooth or gum trauma leading to possible infections of teeth or even the nose.
Dental problems can begin just weeks after the adult tooth comes in. So, you don’t want to wait to have those puppy teeth extracted.
Matilda’s Retained Puppy Teeth
Before she reached a year old, Matilda had four retained canine teeth. All but one eventually fell out. She still has this retained puppy tooth, and I’ve been struggling to keep tartar from building up between the adult tooth and the puppy tooth.
I thought this was the only issue. I thought that if I kept that area clean, and as long as the gums above it did not seem swollen, she would be fine. And so far, she has been. She eats her food and has never seemed to be in pain from her retained puppy tooth.
But she’s three years old. When her puppy tooth is extracted, her adult tooth will remain in that unnatural position.
I truly regret not having her puppy tooth extracted sooner. Veterinarians have never mentioned it during exams, and they have looked inside her mouth, but I only have myself to blame. I should have taken care of this sooner.
Nonetheless, if you’re in the same position as me, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, take action. Pick up the phone right now (or, if it’s after-hours, set a reminder on your phone for tomorrow morning) and call your vet for an appointment. Just do it.
Next week, Matilda is having bloodwork in preparation for her spay surgery. I’m going to have the veterinarian perform the extraction at the same time, if possible.
My reason for procrastinating has been my fear of letting Matilda get put under. Small dogs are especially vulnerable to complications from anesthesia. However, if I don’t have the tooth removed before it becomes painful, she may eventually need a more complicated surgery, plus treatment for an infection that could even be fatal.
While I’m worried about the procedure, I realize it’s routine. I’m optimistic that Matilda will recover quickly, and that it will be much easier for her teeth to stay clean. Fingers and paws crossed!
Monday 5th of June 2023
Thank you for this post I will follow your recommendations Immediately I hope you and Matilda are waltzing again
Saturday 24th of April 2021
tartar development on teeth can cause decay and dental problems for any dog and the same is true for Chihuahua. bad breath is the first sign of tooth decay.
Tuesday 25th of June 2019
Just went to a dental specialist to have my 7 month old chi's teeth extraction. The regular vet refused to do extraction and said that it is actually a complicated procedure. Went to a different vet, and they have said the same thing. And all vets referred me to the dental specialist. And at the end, after the Xray, they extracted 19 baby teeth for him. And the bill is 2.8k. I think it is expensive, but it is still worth it. And this was done in California. According to my vet, the root of the molar is very long and close the jaw bone. Especially for small breed dogs, they are very prone to jaw breaking when removing the molar. And this has to be done by a specialist. And I am very glad that my Chi has all those baby teeth removed. There would be no way a regular vet can remove all those during neutering, and without Xray.
Thursday 27th of June 2019
Oh my goodness!! 19 baby teeth!
I know it's too late, but I really would have waited, Matilda had 4 retained baby teeth and 3 fell out before she turned 2. She only needed one extracted when she got spayed. Yours sounds like a really unusual case, though, so all of those teeth might have affected his growth and development. :/
How is your puppy doing now?
Thursday 23rd of May 2019
What is an average cost to have an average baby tooth removed. Ballpark.
Thursday 23rd of May 2019
For Matilda it was included with her spay, so that whole bill was $800, and that was in New Jersey. For just the extraction, with the usual surgery costs, I'd expect... maybe 200-300? Your vet might be able to give you a quick quote over the phone.
Sunday 16th of September 2018
A good post reading. Thank you Lindsay <3