How to Determine What to Do if Your Dog Lost a Tooth

By Adrienne Farricelli

Should your dog lose a tooth, the most appropriate course of action will vary based on several factors including your dog's age, the overall condition of your dog's mouth and the cause for the tooth falling out. Consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible. In some cases, your vet may be able to to salvage the avulsed tooth if he's able to intervene in a timely manner.

Loss of Puppy Teeth

The loss of a puppy tooth is a natural occurrence and expected as your puppy grows. Expect puppy baby teeth to fall out between the ages of 3 to 6 months old. Your first thought upon noticing the loss of a baby tooth, may be to call the puppy tooth fairy, but there may be more important things to check out first such as keeping en eye on the gums. After falling out, there may be a little bit of bleeding and a metallic odor, but the healing is fairly fast. See your vet if your puppy is not eating or acts as if he has pain.

Loss from Traumatic Injury

At times, your dog's teeth may be knocked out from a traumatic injury. If you find the tooth, it's important to preserve any periodontal ligament cells that may be still attached. Simply place the tooth into normal saline solution. Alternatively, you can use milk, which works as an ideal emergency transport medium, suggests Mark M. Smith, a board-certified veterinary dentist and surgeon practicing at the Center for Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Based on the condition of the tooth, your vet may be able to put it back in place, but consider that it might take anywhere between four and six weeks for it to stabilize into the socket.

Avoid touching the root of the avulsed tooth, scrubbing it or rinsing it with antiseptic products. Your vet may be able to reinsert the tooth into the socket and stabilize it if your dog sees the vet promptly, ideally within 30 minutes. A referral to a veterinary dental specialist may be needed for root canal therapy.

Loss from Decay

A common cause of tooth loss in canines is due to diseased teeth and gums. In advanced cases of periodontal disease, the gums loosen and teeth may become loose eventually causing them to fall out. In this case, there's no need to rush to the vet as avulsed teeth due to advanced periodontal should not be reimplanted, explains Sandra M. Marretta, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgery and American Veterinary Dental College and professor at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine in Urbana, Illinois. However, it's important to see the vet as periodontal disease is painful and more teeth and gums are likely affected.