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chihuahua health and nutrition

Dog Braces -Can a Dog Get Braces for His Teeth

Written by admin

If your dog has bite alignment issues or crooked teeth, you may ask if he can get braces for his teeth? do we have really an option that our dog’s teeth straightened out to perfection?

Yes, the dog can get braces, but only in certain situations, a veterinarian orthodontist can perform this procedure.

Dog braces exist 30 years ago in veterinary dentistry and orthodontia. The goal behind this domain is to help dogs who suffer from painful dental issues. Humans get braces for two reasons, the first one is for cosmetic issues, the second one is to correct the alignment of their teeth. However, the only goal of dog braces is to help a dog to overcome life-threatening dental problems and to eat normally.

Overview of the teeth

Dogs have 42 teeth, unlike humans with 32 teeth. Most importantly, dogs have the same number of teeth whether a dog is a small, medium, or large breed.

Dogs have 12 incisor teeth which are very sharp with their own purpose aside from biting. We should know that dogs long ago were a wild breed and these sharp incisors were perfect as they used them for hunting. Even if they are now our favorite pets they need these sharp incisors. they have also 4 large canine teeth surrounding the incisors and molars.

dog teeth diagram

Do dogs really get braces?

The answer is “yes” but we must note that braces are not there for cosmetic reasons. In other words, dogs get braces only when their health is at risk.

If a dog has a medical reason for needing braces, the vet should agree to perform the procedure.

Before dog braces became popular, some veterinarians had other options such as extraction, Ball therapy which is a technique used to adjust small cases of misaligned teeth associated with Linguoversion, and Shortening teeth with filing. However, braces now are the best option.

Reasons for a dog needing braces

As dog owners, we know that dental care is very important for all dogs. However, even if we take care, there will be one or more teeth that may grow out of line. In some cases, a tooth can grow to the side and it could very well keep moving until it is poking into the pooch’s cheek tissue, or a tooth may grow so out of line that it severs into the dog’s mouth. After all this, we can say that there are 42 reasons why a dog may need braces.

Misaligned teeth can cause great health issues and discomfort for dogs as they can affect their ability to eat. We were witnesses for cases of teeth growing up in the opposite direction, which means that this situation can cause infections because the skin is slowly punctured, bacteria can do their work, and cause health issues.

In addition, there are several dental conditions that need to be treated with braces in dogs such as:

Overbites

Overbites in dogs

They take place when the lower jaw is shorter than the top jaw.

After surgery 

There are some unwanted and sad situations when a part of the jaw is removed because of cancer. In this situation, the owner will be obliged to make his dog wear braces to keep teeth from drifting out of position.

Linguoversion

This condition occurs when one or both of the canine teeth which exist in the lower jaw erupt on the inside. This condition is not comfortable as it doesn’t allow the dog’s mouth to close properly. Linguoversion if not treated early can result in an unwanted situation which is holes in the roof of the mouth. Dogs with long and narrow noses like collie breeds tend to suffer from this condition.

There are two ways to treat Linguaversion: the first one is to remove the abnormal canine teeth, the second one is with the help of braces.

retained baby teeth

retained baby teeth in dogs

One of the causes of crowded teeth, bite issues and some periodontal disease is the Remaining Baby Teeth

How to know if your dog really needs braces?

There are some signs and strange behaviors that tell you that your dog needs to get braces such as, dropping food, overbite, change in teeth alignment, shyness, etc. When you notice one of these signs then you should consult your veterinarian. The vet will decide whether your dog needs to get braces or there is another dental issue. 

Most of the time dental issues occur when the dog is between the age of 4 and 6 months because during this age the adult teeth come in.  In some cases, the vet will ask you to consult a veterinary dentist to guide you.

How does this work?

In most cases, dogs don’t have to get a set of braces as humans. Thanks to advanced medical techniques, a dog can only have a small set of braces like bridge-type. there are also other options like orthodontic buttons with elastic chains or invisible braces.

  • There are also cases when the vet does more than one set of braces as the majority of teeth are growing at extreme angles and causing health risks.
  • Braces move slowly the dog’s tooth back into its place. In most cases, the teeth will stay in proper alignment after the vet remove braces.
  • When the vet decides that your dog will get braces, he or she takes an impression of your dog’s bite. Before putting on the braces most of the time dog is given anesthesia. For this reason, the vet must be sure that the dog is healthy enough to go under general anesthesia.
  • The dog can’t eat hard foods and dry food while he is wearing braces. Hard chews toys are also forbidden.
  • Because dog food particles are trapped between the teeth and the braces. Then the owner must provide daily cleaning to avoid problems like infections or decay.
  • Even if the braces can hurt the dog, the result is very positive.
  • Unlike humans, Braces are most of the time worn for 6 months to 1 year.
  • After removing the braces the dog can chew toys and eat regular food.

Typical cost

The braces cost can run between 2000 dollars and 5000 dollars USD. But there are some factors that can define the price. Such as the size of the dog, his dental condition, and the period that the dog must wear braces.

If the price is out of your budget, the only option you may have is teeth removed.

Last word

The good thing about dog braces is that the process is an easy way to correct the dog’s dental issues, and isn’t nearly as long or involved as in humans. Because Most dogs usually wear braces for weeks to a few months.

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