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Yorkie Teeth

What do I need to know about my Yorkies teeth?

Puppies start to get their puppy teeth at the age of 3 to 4 weeks. They will start with 28 puppy teeth. These teeth will be replaced with their 42 permanent adult teeth at about the age of 4 - 7 months. Dogs have four different types of teeth:

Molars – used for chewing
Premolars – hold and break up the food
Canines – used to hold and tear the food into small pieces
Incisors – cut and nibble

As with all other dogs, Yorkies have two sets of teeth in their life. The first set of teeth is the 28-piece deciduous teeth (often referred to as "milk teeth", "baby teeth" or "puppy teeth"). The second set is the 42-piece permanent or adult teeth. Sometimes the number of permanent or adult teeth may vary, which is fine as long as they do not cause a bad bite (over-bite/under-bite).

When puppies are born, they have no teeth because milk is the only food they need. The deciduous teeth will grow from the age of 3 to 8 weeks old, in the order of incisors, canine/ fangs and premolars. Yorkie puppies have no molar teeth. Yorkie puppies will start to lose their deciduous or baby teeth when the permanent or adult teeth come in.

Yorkies and other small dog breeds sometimes have problems if the deciduous or baby teeth do not fall out as the permanent or adult teeth grow. This is caused by the new teeth not growing right underneath the deciduous teeth. (Usually, a puppy’s body will absorb the roots of puppy teeth.) If the puppy tooth does not yield to the incoming tooth, it should be removed because it can cause a malocclusion or bad bite.

Retained teeth can cause tooth decay because food can be easily caught in between the deciduous and permanent teeth. Sometimes the new teeth are forced to grow into an abnormal position and further cause a bad bite. The retained teeth may stay or fall weeks after the new teeth have developed. When necessary, the retained deciduous or baby teeth need to be removed surgically.

Yorkie's retained deciduous or baby fangs.


Yorkies are also prone to severe dental disease including excessive tarter build-up, gum disease and premature tooth loss. Because they have a small jaw, their teeth can become crowded and may not fall out naturally. This can cause food and plaque to build up, and bacteria can eventually develop on the surface of the teeth, leading to periodontal disease. The best prevention is regular brushing of the teeth with a toothpaste formulated specifically for dogs. Human toothpaste is not recommended, because it foams easier and may be swallowed. Professional teeth cleaning by a veterinarian may also be required to prevent the development of dental problems and is recommended at least every 15 - 18 months.

This dental hygiene routine should be started on the first grooming day to allow the puppy to become familiar with the feeling of having their teeth brushed.  In addition to frequent brushing it is important to have your vet regularly check the condition of your Yorkies teeth at routine check-ups and vaccinations. Home dental care will minimize but not always eliminate the need for the vet procedure.

It is very important to care for your Yorkie dog’s teeth throughout its life. Many people mistakenly assume that Yorkie dogs will be able to care for their own teeth, much as nature intended.  While it is not necessary to brush your Yorkie dog’s teeth daily, it is a good idea to do this at least twice a week, or every two or three days. A finger-brush is a good option as it is like a little sleeve that fits over your finger. It is texturized to provide a scrubbing action, and is much less likely to accidentally and painfully bump the dog’s gums during the cleaning.

In addition to the finger-brush you should use specially formulated doggy toothpaste. Do not use human.  Starting this routine when the dog is very young will help them become used to the procedure. When you are brushing your dog’s teeth, watch for any signs of inflammation, redness or even bleeding along the gum line. This will be normal if the puppy is getting adult teeth, but is not normal in adult Yorkies after about 6 months of age.

Look for any heavy deposits of tarter along the line of the gums or extending up the teeth. It will have a yellowish to brown color, and may not come off with simple brushing. If the tarter build up is severe, the dog will need to have it removed by a veterinarian. This process is known as scaling, and requires that the dog be anesthetized.

I highly recommend you take your puppy at about 7-9 months old and have your Vet evaluate your pup for dental issues and for the need to have retained puppy teeth pulled.  This is paramount to the overall health of your puppy.  It is also a great time to have neutering done, microchips placed, etc.  One anesthesia !!!

Breeder has explained the importance of dental care for my puppy's health.


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