Our Blog

February 2018
15: Family Day 2018
January 2018
11: Dental disease is a real and serious issue
December 2017
05: Holiday Closures 2017
November 2017
01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
October 2017
03: Prizes and pie for our annual Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
September 2017
13: Keetah's Story
11: September is Cancer Awareness Month
August 2017
28: Labour Day 2017
10: What's that smell?!
July 2017
27: Clicker Training
24: Our Commitment to a Low Stress Environment
13: The threat of rabies in southwestern Ontario
07: Wildlife in the city
June 2017
21: Lyme Disease
March 2017
06: The Value Of Education
January 2017
17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
December 2016
20: Holiday Closures
November 2016
28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
September 2016
20: Cajun's story
01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2016
21: Cat Carriers
June 2016
29: Dog Park Etiquette
May 2016
31: Heartworm Q & A
12: Tick Troubles
March 2016
10: Anticipated tick bloom
February 2016
22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
January 2016
14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
October 2015
09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
September 2015
23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2015
28: Exciting news for our hospital!
June 2015
11: Mosquito Prevention
May 2015
08: Heartworm cases
April 2015
24: Changing your pet's food
March 2015
01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
January 2015
13: January and February are Dental Education Months!
December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
September 2014
22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
March 2014
20: Happy Smiles
January 2014
22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
July 2013
11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
June 2013
20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
12: Pet Education Day and Open House a Huge Success!
May 2013
25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
April 2013
29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
March 2013
10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?

Posted: 2013-02-08

Missing tooth on lower jaw!If you’ve been paying attention to our Facebook page, you may already know that dogs are supposed to have 42 teeth, while cats should have 30. As we see here on nearly a daily basis, many of our pets don’t read the textbooks, and are “missing” teeth. Similarly, we frequently see patients with extra teeth, which often times is more concerning. Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell if a tooth is in fact “missing” by simply opening your pets mouth.

Many of our pets are born with fewer than the expected number of teeth, more notably in dogs than in cats. For some breeds, this has been a result of adaptation of necessity as their jaw shape has changed from the historical canine. Such examples include brachycephalic breeds, or breeds with a very short muzzle – due to a reduction in the size of their upper (maxilla) and lower (mandible) jaw, they literally do not have the space to accomodate the normal number of teeth. Even with reduced teeth numbers, they still experience crowding and rotation of teeth, which can significantly increase the rate at which periodontal (dental) disease occurs.

Missing tooth found on dental radiographs.When we see a patient for the first time, if missing teeth are noted on the physical examination, it may be recommended to take a dental radiograph of the area where the missing tooth should reside. While some patients are truly missing teeth, as discussed above. others may have unerupted teeth that are developing underneath the gumline. If left untreated, these unerupted teeth will cause serious concerns for your pet. As a tooth develops underneath the gumline, there is a special layer of epithelial cells that form enamel, the protective outer surface of the tooth. As a tooth erupts through the gumline, this layer is normally removed through abrasion. However, if a tooth develops underneath the gumline, and fails to erupt, this layer of epithelial cells with start to produce a fluid-filled cyst around the tooth. This fluid development can start as quickly as a few weeks after maturation of the tooth, all the way up to a few years. This is what is called a dentigerous cyst. As this cyst expands, it destroys the surrounding bone (jaw bones), often permanently damaging surrounding tooth structures in the process. The reason that dental radiographs are so important is that we need to detect these cases immediately. Otherwise, clinical signs are not apparent until very late in the disease process, often as the cyst bursts through the gingiva or as surrounding teeth begin to fall out. Treatment for dentigerous cysts involves surgical removal of the unerupted tooth, and curetting (scraping) of any cyst tissue that surrounds the tooth.

The preferred treatment for this condition, however, is prevention! For this reason, if your pet is of maturity around seven to eight months of age, and has teeth that are unaccounted for, we may strongly recommend dental radiographs.

Stay tuned later this week for more information on pets with extra teeth!


This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic (vet hospital) in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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