As a dog lover, you are used to your dog’s smiley face (well… most of the time). However, dental health is one aspect of dog health that is often overlooked. Just like humans, dogs can develop dental problems affecting their overall health and well-being. To help prevent dental problems in dogs, we will cover the basics of dental anatomy and check a dental chart for dogs.

General dog teeth stuff

The first thing you need to know about the dental chart for dogs is their teeth anatomy.

Just like us humans, dogs have two sets of teeth.

Dogs have 28 deciduous (baby or milk) teeth and 42 permanent teeth.

The permanent teeth consist of 20 upper teeth and 22 lower teeth.

Dog teeth come in four types: incisors, canines, premolars, and molars.

More about dog teeth names

Each tooth has a specific name. For example, the teeth in the front of a dog’s mouth are called incisors, which are used for biting and cutting. The next set of teeth is the canines used for grasping and tearing. The premolars come next; they are unique teeth for crushing and grinding. Lastly, the molars are in the back of the mouth and grind and chew food (and stuff like sticks and a large, etc., for most dogs).

Dental chart for dogs

A dental chart for dogs is a diagram showing each tooth’s location and name in the mouth.

A dental chart is an essential tool for dog owners and veterinarians alike, as it allows them to track the condition of a dog’s teeth over time. Veterinarians can also use dental charts to identify which teeth need extraction or treatment and to keep track of what they did in previous visits.

A dental chart for dogs (adults) is shown in the image (lower and upper jaws)

How to Use a Teeth Chart

Using a teeth chart is relatively straightforward.

Start by examining your dog’s teeth and comparing them to the diagram on the teeth chart.

Take note of any missing or damaged teeth and any signs of gum disease or other dental problems.

We recommend taking your dog for regular dental check-ups with a veterinarian to keep your dog’s teeth in good health.

What is inside a dog’s tooth?

The structure of a dog’s tooth is very similar to that of humans.

A dog’s tooth has:

Enamel: The hard outer layer of the tooth that protects it from damage and decay.

Dentin: The layer beneath the enamel that makes up most of the tooth’s structure.

Pulp: The soft tissue at the tooth’s center contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

Cement: hard, calcified tissue that covers the root surface of the tooth. Its main function is to provide attachment for the periodontal ligament, which helps to anchor the tooth to the surrounding bone. Cement also helps to protect the underlying dentin and pulp from external stimuli.

Alveolar (jaw) bone: The bone that surrounds and supports the roots of the teeth.

Dental Formula

The dental formula for dogs is a shorthand way of indicating how many of each type of tooth a dog has. The dental formula for adult dogs is:

2(I 3/3 C 1/1 P 4/4 M 2/3) = 42 teeth

On the formula:

I = Insicives

C = Canines

P = Premolars

M = Molars

This formula indicates that dogs have two* incisors, one canine, four premolars, two molars in their upper jaw, and the same number of teeth in their lower jaw.

(*) that is the meaning of the number 2 out of the brackets.

Upper jaw

2(I 3/3 C 1/1 P 4/4 M 2/3) = 42 teeth

Lower jaw

2(I 3/3 C 1/1 P 4/4 M 2/3) = 42 teeth

The dental formula for puppies is slightly different, as they have fewer teeth than adult dogs.

What is the milk dental dog formula?

What is the milk dental dog formula?

The milk dental dog formula, or deciduous dental formula, refers to the set of temporary teeth that first appear in puppies and are later in life replaced by the permanent set. Thus, just like humans, dogs also go through two stages of teeth in their lifetime.

Milk teeth, puppy teeth, or deciduous teeth consist of 28 teeth.

Here is the milk dental formula for dogs:

2(I 3/3 C 1/1 P 3/3) = 28 teeth.

This formula includes all the milk teeth a dog will have before they start teething and the adult teeth come in. The deciduous teeth include three incisors, one canine, and three premolars in each quadrant of the mouth, for a total of 28 teeth.

The dental milk dog formula comprises six incisors, two canines, and six premolars in each jaw. Puppies do not have molars in their milk teeth set. These teeth are much smaller and more delicate than adult teeth and are designed to fall out as the puppy grows, and the adult teeth start to come in.

Newborn puppies do not have any visible teeth. However, around three weeks of age, their deciduous teeth will begin to emerge through their gums. By the time they are six weeks old, all of their deciduous teeth should have appeared.

The process of the milk teeth falling out and being replaced by adult teeth is called teething.

The dental chart for dogs is different from that of puppies, which have temporary teeth: incisors, canines, and premolars, but not molars as in adult dogs

When are dogs changing their teeth?

Puppies start teething at about three weeks; by the time they are six weeks old, all their milk teeth will have come in.
The first teeth to erupt are the incisors and canine teeth, followed by the premolars.
Unlike humans, dogs do not have baby molars.
Monitoring puppies during this time is essential, as they may experience discomfort and need appropriate chew toys to alleviate teething pain. They even may experience mood changes. Providing them with safe and suitable chewing items can also help prevent destructive chewing behaviors.

How about adult or permanent dog teeth appearance?

As puppies grow, their baby teeth will be replaced by adult teeth. The teething process usually begins around 3 or 3 ½ to 4 months of age when permanent ones replace the deciduous incisors. When a puppy is 6 to 7 months old, all the adult teeth should have grown in.

The emergence of adult teeth will vary depending on their location in the mouth.

Typically, the front teeth will come between 12 and 16 weeks of age, while the teeth towards the back will come in between 16 and 24 weeks.

The permanent incisors usually appear at around three months of age, with three pairs per jaw. The final pair of incisors usually comes in at five months old.

Adult canine teeth, usually visible between 4-6 months of age, are the next to come in. Premolars are the teeth furthest back in your dog’s mouth before the adult molars erupt. Dogs lose their deciduous premolars, and four permanent premolars come in on the top and bottom of both sides. These teeth usually come in between 4-6 months of age.

All molars will erupt by 4-7 months of age, completing the set of adult teeth.

Here is a chart summarizing when dog teeth appear:

Can teeth reveal a dog’s age?

As dogs age, their teeth will begin to wear down and accumulate tartar. Veterinarians use this information to estimate a dog’s age, as their teeth become less pointed after about 5-6 years. However, the condition of a dog’s teeth will depend on their daily routine, including how much they chew, what they chew, and their diet. In addition, previous dental cleanings or at-home care can also affect their teeth. This variability makes determining a dog’s age harder as they move beyond puppyhood.

Dog with teeth with tartar (wrong) and with healthy teeth (correct: check mark)

How to inspect your dog’s mouth?

Proper care of a dog’s teeth is essential for oral health. Dental care includes regular inspections, brushing, feeding a high-quality diet, and providing appropriate chew toys.

Step-by-step guide for dogs mouth inspection

Here is our step-by-step guide for dog owners to inspect their dog’s mouth and check their teeth:

➡️Get your dog used to the idea of having their mouth touched. Start by gently stroking their muzzle and lips, gradually working your way up to opening their mouth.

➡️Lift your dog’s lip to examine their front teeth and gums. Look for signs of tartar buildup, discoloration, bleeding, or swelling. The gums should be pink and firm, not red, swollen, or bleeding.

➡️Check the back teeth by lifting the cheeks and gently pulling down the tongue. Look for any signs of decay, chipping, or missing teeth.

➡️ Smell your dog’s breath. While some dog breath odor is typical, excessively foul breath can indicate dental issues such as gum disease or infection.

➡️Monitor your dog’s behavior for signs of dental problems, such as reluctance to eat, pawing at the mouth, or excessive drooling.

What potential problems can you find?

If you notice any of the following issues, it may indicate that your dog needs veterinary attention:

  • Loose or missing teeth
  • Excessive tartar buildup or discoloration
  • Bleeding or inflamed gums
  • Abnormal growths or masses in the mouth
  • Foul breath or excessive drooling

We recommend that your dog have a professional veterinary dental cleaning every 6-12 months, depending on the dog’s individual dental health. Additionally, suppose you have any concerns or notice changes in your dog’s oral health. In that case, it’s essential to consult with your veterinarian as soon as possible to prevent dental issues from worsening and causing discomfort for your furry friend.

Dental care in dogs is critical because severe health problems can arise from deteriorated teeth.

What happens when there are fewer teeth than the dental formula indicates?

Missing teeth, also known as hypodontia, is a common dental abnormality in dogs that occurs when a tooth fails to develop. It is more commonplace in the milk teeth set.

It happens more frequently in certain breeds, such as toy and brachycephalic breeds.

If missing teeth are in a dog’s adult dental formula, it can cause problems with chewing and other dental issues, such as malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth), gum disease, and tooth decay. Missing teeth can also cause adjacent teeth to shift, which can lead to bite issues and further dental problems. Your veterinarian will advise what to do in such cases.

Additionally, some dogs may have fewer teeth due to dental extractions or trauma. Working with a veterinarian or veterinary dentist is important in these cases to ensure proper dental care and management. Depending on the location and number of missing teeth, your veterinarian may recommend dental x-rays or other diagnostic tests to evaluate the extent of the issue and determine the best course of treatment.


Q: What are some signs of dental problems in dogs?

A: Some signs of dental problems in dogs include bad breath, yellow or brown teeth, bleeding gums, and difficulty eating.

Q: How often should I brush my dog’s teeth?

A: Brushing your dog’s teeth at least twice weekly is recommended to prevent dental problems.

Q: Can dental problems in dogs lead to other health problems?

A: Yes, dog dental problems can lead to other health problems like heart and kidney disease.

Wrapping up

Understanding the dental chart for dogs is essential to keeping your furry friend healthy. Knowing their teeth anatomy, teeth names, dental formula, and how to use a teeth chart can help prevent dental problems in your dog. Provide chewing toys or treats during this uncomfortable process when your dog is teething. Take your dog to regular dental check-ups at least once a year.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here