The Dog Dentition and The Purpose of Each Teeth
Adult dogs have 42 teeth. Each tooth is shaped and positioned in the jaw to deliver a function to the animal:
The Dog’s Bite
A dog’s bite is the way his teeth fit together when his upper and lower jaws are closed shut. For most breeds, the jaws should close with the upper incisors just overlapping and touching the lower incisors. The most commonly seen issue with jaw alignment is an ‘overshot’ or ‘undershot’ jaw. Overshot jaw is where the upper jaw is longer than the lower. An undershot jaw is where the bottom jaw is longer than the upper jaw. Both of these conditions mean that the teeth overlap but do not touch which can cause problems when eating.
A – Molars
These teeth are positioned towards the back of the jaw and are used for crushing and grinding.
B – Premolars
These teeth are used for tearing and chewing – when using these teeth, dogs often tilt their head to one side.
C – Canines
These teeth are used for holding objects in their mouths and for puncturing.
D – Incisors
These teeth are at the front of the jaw and are used for nibbling and are especially useful for stripping meat when eating and for grooming their coat.