I was wondering if you could tell me what to expect of our 7 month old Shi Tzu puppy who has a black area all around the base of one of his bottom teeth. It looks like the tooth is just slightly crooked in that spot. He seems to eat the same and chew constantly on all his bones. He doesn't seem bothered by it but it does look strange. I don't know if this is a baby tooth still or a permanent one. Thanks for your help!
In many breeds the gums may be partly or completely darkly pigmented. This is not abnormal.
By approximately 6 months of age, all adult teeth are emerged and in wear, in most breeds and most individuals. Occasionally adult tooth emergence is delayed a week or two more.
In many breeds, especially the brachycephalic breeds (short faced) retained deciduous ("baby") teeth are common. The definition of this is that two teeth intended to be in the same location are present simultaneously. As the adult tooth emerges, the baby tooth should loosen and be pushed out. If it doesn't, it should be removed by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Failure to do so may result in a "malocclusion" with risks of impact damage to adult teeth, the roof of the mouth or other tissues. Crowding may also occur and brings with it the risk of early periodontal disease and tooth loss. Retained deciduous teeth only worsen existing crowding.
That said, crowding in brachycephalic breeds is considered "normal" for the breed, though it frequently results in periodontal disease with age. Some specialists say it is better to remove every other tooth in a severe crowding situation before disease develops, than to leave all and wait for periodontal disease to cause bone loss and eventually more numerous tooth loss in the most severe crowding situations. Braces are also a possibility in some dogs and situations, but is fraught with problems because of the way dogs use their mouths.
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