Rover’s genetic overbite has grown so painful that he ignores his kibble, lacks interest in chew toys and appears depressed; your vet's referred him to a dental specialist for an orthodontic evaluation. After your initial reaction of laughter then shock, discuss the various treatment options and costs with the specialist to choose the best option for your pet's chompers.
Don't Grin And Bear It
Canine orthodontics aren't about achieving a pretty smile; braces correct teeth misalignment, also called malocclusion, for a natural and functional bite.
In addition to inherited oral conditions, other causes of painful misalignment are retained primary teeth, tug-of-war mouth games, poor nutrition and jaw trauma.
The veterinary dental specialist will examine your dogs' teeth and outline an individualized treatment plan. Depending on the misalignment, braces will run between $1,000 and $2,000. If you carry pet insurance, some or all may be covered.
Brace Face Metal Mouth
Dog braces aren't the fun colored grids that kids sport, although there are similarities, including return visits for adjustments. There's the button and elastic attachment that's cemented in place; it crosses over one or two teeth to gradually realign. Or a removable transparent aligner may be used to coax teeth into position.
The appliance will vary with severity of misalignment, and most require anesthesia to attach. Unlike human braces, which can take years to move teeth, dog braces work their magic in as little as six months.
Healthy Teeth Take A Bite Out of Illness
A proper and functional bite deters serious medical problems such as periodontal disease, gum boils, worn teeth, palate ulcers, plaque and tarter buildup, mouth infections and weight loss.
By correcting your dog’s bite, you’re giving him the best opportunity for complete health. An aligned bite eliminates his pain, wards off his potential for aggression or depression, renews his personality and allows him to enjoy his meals.
Smile And Say Cheese
Braces aren't the only way to create or restore a functional bite. An extraction may be viable if only one or two teeth are out of line; a crown reduction can correct a long tooth. Rubber ball therapy, a non-surgical method of moving teeth, may be advised.
Whatever option you choose, it's important to resolve your pet's oral disorder. A proper bite is key to his overall health, well-being and happiness.
- The Chihuahua Information Center: Dog Braces - Can a Dog Get Braces for Their Teeth?
- ZooToo: Canine Teeth Get Straightened with Braces
- The Spokesman-Review: Orthodontics Give Dogs a Healthy Bite
- Vetstreet: Dog Dental Breakthroughs: Braces and Root Canals Are No Longer a Novelty
- petMD: Teeth Misalignment in Dogs
- Veterinary Dental Center: Pet Orthodontics
- Pet Plan: Brace Yourself: Petplan Pet Insurance Sinks Its Teeth Into Veterinary Orthodontics
- WebVet: Braces For Dogs?
- The Bark: Canine Orthodontics
- American Veterinary Dental College: Malocclusions and Orthodontics in Dogs and Cats
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images