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 four months. Dogs have four different types of
– 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.
The permanent or adult grow when the
Yorkie puppies are 4 to 8 months old. By around 8 months old, those
teeth should fully develop. The permanent or adult teeth will grow in
the order of incisors, canine/fangs, premolars and molars. Molar teeth
will develop at around 6 to 8 months old.
Yorkies and other
small dog breeds may 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
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.
Yorkie puppies 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
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 if not eliminate the need for the vet
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. This may
have been true if dogs only ate all natural ingredients and foods such
as they would have eaten had they remained wild animals.
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 toothpaste as it is not correctly formulated for dogs, and
the taste is unpleasant for your dog.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions