Maltese Shih Tzu Teeth – How Many, Teething Stages, Types & Size
How Many Teeth Do Maltese Shih Tzus Have?
Maltese Shih Tzus, like other small dog breeds, typically have 42 teeth once they have their full set of adult teeth. These teeth are composed of incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Incisors are the small front teeth used for grooming and nibbling, while canines are the pointed teeth for tearing and grasping. Premolars and molars, located towards the back of the mouth, aid in chewing and grinding food.
Teething is a natural process that all puppies go through and Maltese Shih Tzus are no exception. The teething process generally occurs in two stages: the puppy teething stage and the adult teething stage.
- Puppy Teething Stage: This stage starts when a Maltese Shih Tzu is around 3 to 4 weeks old and lasts until they are approximately 4 to 6 months old. During this stage, puppies begin to lose their baby milk teeth and develop their adult teeth. It’s important to note that teething can cause discomfort for puppies, leading to chewing behaviors and potential sore gums.
- Adult Teething Stage: Once the puppy teething stage is complete, Maltese Shih Tzus will have their full set of adult teeth. These teeth are stronger and more durable than their baby milk teeth, allowing for efficient chewing and maintaining proper oral health.
Types of Teeth
Understanding the different types of teeth in Maltese Shih Tzus can help you better care for their dental health. Let’s explore each type:
- Incisors: Located in the front of the mouth, incisors are small and sharp teeth that serve grooming and nibbling purposes. Maltese Shih Tzus have a total of 12 incisors—six in the upper jaw and six in the lower jaw.
- Canines: Often referred to as fangs, canines are the pointed teeth located on each side of the incisors. They play a crucial role in grasping, tearing and holding objects. Maltese Shih Tzus have four canines—two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw.
- Premolars: Situated behind the canines, premolars assist in chewing and grinding food. Maltese Shih Tzus have eight premolars—four in the upper jaw and four in the lower jaw.
- Molars: Found at the back of the mouth, molars are larger and broader teeth responsible for crushing and grinding food. Maltese Shih Tzus have a total of 16 molars—eight in the upper jaw and eight in the lower jaw.
Size of Maltese Shih Tzu Teeth
The size of Maltese Shih Tzu teeth varies depending on whether they are puppy teeth or adult teeth. Generally, puppy teeth are smaller and more delicate than adult teeth. As puppies grow, their jaws develop, accommodating the larger and stronger adult teeth. It’s important to be mindful of tooth size when choosing dental care products and treats for your Maltese Shih Tzu, ensuring they are appropriate for their mouth size.
Common Dental Issues in Maltese Shih Tzus
While Maltese Shih Tzus are generally healthy dogs, they can be prone to certain dental issues. It’s crucial to be aware of these common problems to prevent complications and maintain their oral health:
- Dental Plaque and Tartar: Plaque is a sticky film that forms on the teeth due to bacteria and food particles. Over time, if not removed, it can harden into tartar, leading to gum inflammation (gingivitis) and potential tooth decay.
- Gum Disease: Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontal disease, which affects the tissues and bones supporting the teeth. Signs of gum disease include bad breath, redness or swelling of the gums and loose teeth.
- Tooth Decay: Maltese Shih Tzus can develop cavities or dental caries, especially if their teeth aren’t properly cared for. Tooth decay can cause pain, discomfort and even tooth loss if left untreated.
Signs That Your Maltese Shih Tzu May Be Teething
During the teething process, puppies may exhibit certain signs that indicate they are experiencing discomfort. Look out for these common signs of teething in your Maltese Shih Tzu:
- Increased chewing behavior, especially on objects or toys
- Swollen or sensitive gums
- Excessive drooling
- Reluctance to eat or decreased appetite
- Irritability or restlessness
When Do Maltese Shih Tzus Lose Their Baby Milk Teeth?
Maltese Shih Tzus start losing their baby milk teeth during the puppy teething stage, which typically occurs between 3 to 6 months of age. As their adult teeth emerge, the baby teeth gradually loosen and fall out. It’s important to monitor this transition to ensure all baby teeth are replaced by the permanent adult teeth.
When Do Maltese Shih Tzus Stop Teething?
The teething process in Maltese Shih Tzus usually concludes by the time they reach 6 months of age. By this stage, they should have their full set of adult teeth and the discomfort associated with teething should subside.
What Should You Do When Your Maltese Shih Tzu is Teething?
When your Maltese Shih Tzu is teething, there are several steps you can take to provide relief and support their dental health:
- Offer appropriate chew toys designed for teething puppies.
- Provide frozen washcloths or chilled teething toys to alleviate sore gums.
- Regularly inspect their mouth for any signs of dental issues or retained baby teeth.
- Ensure a balanced diet that promotes dental health and avoids excessive sugary treats.
Tips for Preventing Dental Issues in Maltese Shih Tzus
Prevention is key to maintaining your Maltese Shih Tzu’s oral health. Here are some essential tips for preventing dental issues:
- Establish a regular dental care routine, including daily tooth brushing using a dog-specific toothpaste.
- Provide dental treats or toys that aid in removing plaque and tartar buildup.
- Schedule regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings with your veterinarian.
- Choose a high-quality dog food that promotes dental health and avoids excessive sugars or fillers.
By implementing these preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of dental problems in your Maltese Shih Tzu and ensure their long-term oral health.
Caring for your Maltese Shih Tzu’s teeth is vital for their overall well-being. Understanding the number, types and size of their teeth, as well as the teething process, common dental issues and preventive measures, allows you to be a proactive and responsible dog owner. By prioritizing dental care and seeking professional guidance when needed, you can help your furry companion maintain a healthy and happy smile for years to come.