Maltese Teeth – How Many, Teething Stages, Types & Size
How Many Teeth Do Maltese Have?
Maltese dogs, like most dogs, have two sets of teeth during their lives: deciduous (baby) teeth and permanent (adult) teeth. The dental formula for adult Maltese dogs is as follows:
- Incisors: 3/3 on both the upper and lower jaw (total of 12)
- Canines: 1/1 on both the upper and lower jaw (total of 4)
- Premolars: 4/4 on both the upper and lower jaw (total of 16)
- Molars: 2/2 on both the upper and lower jaw (total of 8)
By adding these numbers, we find that adult Maltese dogs have a total of 42 teeth.
Teething Stages in Maltese Dogs
Teething is a natural process in which a puppy’s deciduous teeth are gradually replaced by permanent teeth. This process typically begins around 3 to 4 months of age and can last up to 6 months. The teething process in Maltese puppies can be divided into three stages:
- Primary Teeth Stage: During this stage, the deciduous incisors erupt first, followed by the canines and premolars. The primary teeth serve as placeholders for the permanent teeth that will develop later.
- Mixed Dentition Stage: In this stage, the permanent teeth begin to erupt, pushing against the roots of the deciduous teeth. The roots eventually dissolve, causing the baby teeth to become loose and fall out.
- Permanent Dentition Stage: Once the deciduous teeth have fallen out, the permanent teeth fully emerge. At this stage, the Maltese dog will have a complete set of adult teeth.
Types of Teeth in Maltese Dogs
Maltese dogs have four types of teeth, each serving a specific purpose in the chewing process:
- Incisors: These small, flat teeth are located at the front of the mouth and are used for grasping and nibbling food.
- Canines: Also known as “fangs,” canines are the sharp, pointed teeth situated on either side of the incisors. They aid in tearing and holding onto food.
- Premolars: Positioned behind the canines, premolars have a broad surface and help in cutting, shearing and grinding food.
- Molars: The largest teeth in the mouth, molars are situated at the back and have a broad surface area. They play a crucial role in grinding and crushing food.
Size of Maltese Teeth
The size of Maltese teeth is proportionate to the dog’s overall body size. As a toy breed, Maltese dogs have relatively small teeth compared to larger dog breeds. The incisors and canines are small and delicate, while the premolars and molars are also smaller in size to fit within the Maltese dog’s mouth.
Common Dental Issues in Maltese Dogs
Despite their small size, Maltese dogs are prone to several dental issues. It is important to be aware of these problems to ensure timely intervention and treatment. Common dental issues in Maltese dogs include:
- Dental plaque and tartar buildup: Accumulation of bacteria and food particles that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.
- Gum disease (periodontal disease): Inflammation and infection of the gums, often caused by untreated plaque and tartar.
- Tooth decay (cavities): Destruction of the tooth structure due to bacterial action.
- Retained deciduous teeth: Failure of baby teeth to fall out, leading to overcrowding and misalignment of adult teeth.
- Malocclusion: Abnormal alignment of the teeth, such as an overbite or underbite.
Signs That Your Maltese May Be Teething
During the teething process, Maltese puppies may exhibit several signs indicating their discomfort. Look out for the following signs that your Maltese may be teething:
- Increased chewing behavior, especially on toys or objects within reach.
- Excessive drooling.
- Swollen or inflamed gums.
- Reluctance to eat hard or crunchy foods.
- Discomfort or irritability.
When Do Maltese Dogs Lose Their Baby Milk Teeth?
The shedding of baby teeth in Maltese puppies typically begins around 3 to 4 months of age, coinciding with the eruption of permanent teeth. The exact timing can vary among individuals, but by the age of 6 months, most Maltese puppies will have shed all their deciduous teeth.
When Do Maltese Dogs Stop Teething?
Teething in Maltese dogs usually concludes around 6 months of age when the permanent teeth have fully emerged. However, it’s important to note that some dogs may experience a prolonged teething process, lasting up to 8 months. Factors such as genetics, overall health and individual variations can influence the duration of teething.
What Should You Do When Your Maltese is Teething?
Teething can be a challenging time for both Maltese puppies and their owners. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can implement to help alleviate discomfort and ensure your puppy’s teething process goes smoothly. Here are some tips to follow when your Maltese is teething:
- Provide appropriate chew toys: Teething puppies have a natural urge to chew to relieve their discomfort. Supply your Maltese puppy with a variety of chew toys that are specifically designed for teething. Look for toys made of durable and safe materials, such as rubber or nylon, that can withstand vigorous chewing. Avoid toys that are too hard or small, as they may pose a choking hazard.
- Offer cold items: Cold temperatures can help soothe swollen and inflamed gums. Consider providing your Maltese puppy with cold items to chew on. You can try freezing a wet washcloth, a small towel, or even a puppy-safe teething ring. Always supervise your puppy when offering frozen items to ensure they do not chew off or swallow any small pieces.
- Use gentle dental care techniques: Establishing good oral hygiene habits early on is essential for your Maltese’s dental health. Start by introducing your puppy to tooth brushing using a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste. Brush your puppy’s teeth gently in circular motions, focusing on the outer surfaces. Aim for a daily brushing routine to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Be patient and gradually increase the brushing time as your puppy becomes more comfortable.
- Consider dental gels or sprays: There are dental gels and sprays available that are formulated to provide relief during the teething process. These products often contain soothing ingredients that can help alleviate gum discomfort. Consult your veterinarian for recommendations on safe and effective dental gels or sprays suitable for your Maltese puppy.
- Supervise chewing and discourage inappropriate items: During teething, puppies have an increased desire to chew on various objects. Ensure a safe environment for your Maltese puppy by removing any potential hazards, such as electrical cords or small objects that can be swallowed. Redirect your puppy’s chewing behavior to appropriate chew toys and discourage chewing on furniture or personal belongings by using positive reinforcement and providing alternative options.
- Schedule regular veterinary check-ups: Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for monitoring your Maltese puppy’s dental health. Your veterinarian can examine your puppy’s teeth and gums, identify any potential issues and provide appropriate advice or treatments if needed. They can also guide you on dental care routines, recommend dental-friendly treats and perform professional dental cleanings when necessary.
Tips for Preventing Dental Issues in Maltese Dogs
Maintaining good dental health is crucial for the overall well-being of your Maltese dog. By implementing preventive measures and incorporating regular dental care into your routine, you can help prevent dental issues and ensure your Maltese’s teeth and gums stay healthy. Here are some tips to consider for preventing dental issues in Maltese dogs:
- Brush your dog’s teeth regularly using a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste.
- Provide dental treats or toys designed to promote dental hygiene.
- Ensure regular professional dental cleanings by a veterinarian.
- Maintain a healthy diet and avoid feeding excessive amounts of sugary or sticky foods.
- Monitor your dog’s oral health and consult a veterinarian if any dental issues arise.
Understanding the dental aspects of Maltese dogs is vital for their overall well-being. By knowing the number of teeth, teething stages, types and size of teeth, common dental issues, signs of teething, shedding of milk teeth, when teething stops and preventive measures, you can ensure your Maltese dog maintains excellent oral health throughout its life. Regular dental care and monitoring will help keep your furry companion’s smile bright and healthy.