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1-Year Old Chihuahua Teeth Poke Through the Mouth Floor

April 29, 2012
White, silky long haired male 1-year-old Chihuahua


Teeth Poking Through the Floor of the Mouth are Bad

Charley was a perfectly cute 1-year-old long-haired male Chihuahua.  However, he had a horrible, hidden tooth problem.  Charlie’s bottom canine teeth were base narrow. The canine teeth could cause lifelong pain and infection.

What are Base Narrow Teeth?

When the mandibular (bottom) canine teeth come in through the floor of the mouth, that's "base narrow."

Base Narrow Canine Teeth

Base narrow means the canine teeth erupt too far medial – toward the midline of the mouth – than they should.  They will not occlude – or line up properly – with the upper maxillary teeth and they might even grow long enough to cut a hole in the roof of the mouth.

What Causes Base Narrow Teeth?

The most common cause of base narrow canines is retained, unshed deciduous canine teeth.  One of the jobs of baby teeth is to guide the permanent teeth to erupt in the correct locations.  However, in many small breed dogs, the baby tooth roots do not absorb and the teeth do not fall out by the time the puppy is 6 months old.  Then the permanent teeth must erupt in an unnatural orientation.

Tru Tip

Baby teeth should all be shed by 6 months of age.  If a permanent tooth can be seen at the same time as the baby tooth, that is the definition of retained.  The baby tooth should be removed right away to prevent malocclusion,” says Doc Truli.

Retained deciduous mandibular canines can cause the permanent canines to erupt base narrow.

Base narrow with retained baby teeth in the way

In the photo on the right, the baby teeth are the sharp, pointy canine teeth (the ones that hurt when a puppy nips you!) Just inside the permanent tooth on the right of the photo, you can see the white bud of the permanent tooth coming in almost under the tongue.

How Do You Fix Base Narrow Teeth?

Doc Truli removed the baby teeth in this Chihuahua, so the permanent teeth could shift over to the natural position, saving the puppy much pain and further surgery in the future.

A mature dog would be evaluated by your veterinarian to see if the damage caused by the tooth is worth a surgery to remove the permanent tooth.  Board-certified veterinary dentists can also design a mouth brace to push the tooth out to its normal position, thereby saving the tooth and its natural function.

Charley’s teeth migrated lateral – toward the outside of the jaw – into a normal alignment after we removed the retained deciduous teeth.

Tru Tip

If your pup is 6 months old, ask your veterinarian for a dental examination to catch retained deciduous teeth before they start health problems.


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4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 21, 2017 2:38 pm

    I have a 7 month old chihuahua and i noticed his upper baby canines arestill present next to the permanent one. I want him neutered and get the canines taken at the same time will it be expensive procedure?

    • March 27, 2017 10:52 pm

      Dear JOJO,
      Expensive is completely relative. In general, it costs just a little more to remove those teeth during a planned surgery. Sometimes the roots can be 2x longer than the tooth crown that you see and takes some finesse to remove. In the US, generally, the tooth removal will cost about 10% of the neuter price. It saves tons of pain, infection and money down the road.
      Doc Truli

  2. luka permalink
    October 3, 2012 11:15 am

    i have same problem with my dachshund.
    She is 5 months old.

    Can you please put picture of your dog´s teeth. How they look now?!

    Please! -if it`s not a problem.

    • October 7, 2012 3:30 pm

      Dear Luka,

      I am the Chihuahua’s doctor, not his owner. So it’s harder for me to get a picture a year later. In fact, it’s pretty hard in general unless they bring the Chihuahua back to me for more dental care under anesthesia (can you imagine your dog holding still with his or her mouth open for a clear picture?!) I’ll keep your request in mind and try to get a picture of an older dog with the base narrow problem.

      Realize, every dog is different. I have seen some with no problems at all. I have also seen others where the teeth grow and cause bleeding holes in the roof of the mouth (obviously action must be taken to fix that!) Please consult a veterinarian you trust for advice.

      Doc Truli

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