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Dog Braces

Yorkshire Terrier at the Vet

Orthodontics for dogs

Unfortunately dogs - out of all the animals - require orthodontic treatment the most. This is due to their changed diet and to genetic disorders as a result of over-breeding. Misaligned teeth cause malocclusions. Malocclusion is an abnormal bite either because of bad tooth-on-tooth or bad tooth-on-soft tissue contact. These problems need to be solved - not only because of aesthetic reasons, but also because of future health problems. Although the animal might not show any signs of pain, they should be treated as soon as possible. With the help of braces, the extraction of teeth can be avoided. (Orthodontics: Braces For Dogs and Cats) Orthodontists may apply interceptive methods to prevent malocclusion or they will apply forces to reposition the teeth. (Veterinary Orthodontics) A positive aspect is that the dogs only need to wear braces for a few weeks or months. (Dog Braces)

Initial force directed ventrally (towards the belly)      

Posterior Crossbite:

Problem: the carnassial teeth line up abnormally. The upper carnassial is positioned inside the lower carnassial (premolar tooth).



This condition has not been treated orthodontically yet, because it doesn’t normally cause issues. The image above shows a functional occlusion (bite) and thus no extraction of teeth is necessary. (Veterinary Orthodontics)

Base Narrow Canines:

Problem: The normal canine interlock is lost and thus the lower canine strikes the palate causing indentations, holes, entrapped debris and oronasal fistulas, which are abnormal openings between nasal and oral cavity which results in sneezing, nasal discharge and bad breath. The cause of this conflict is due to the late exfoliation/eruption of the lower adult canine tooth. (Veterinary Orthodontics)

Force directed distally (away from the body, towards the front)

Anterior Crossbite:

Problem: One or more teeth (typically the central incisors) are out of normal arch alignment. This could cause a malocclusion or simply just be an aesthetic issue. This is also caused by late exfoliation/eruption of the affected teeth. (Veterinary Orthodontics)



Maxillary arch bar pulling incisor teeth forward (front view and side view)


Palatal incline plane: lower canine strikes the slope and is therefore tilted in an inward position


Other methods:

PetAlign: It belongs to the group of appliances, called InvisAlign, and is made for dogs. This is the preferred method of correcting teeth positions compared to the conventional metal braces, because it only requires anaesthesia once (when the fold is made). The owner can easily take the braces on and off and it causes minimal discomfort. (Why Dogs and Cats)

Example Problems with Their Solutions:

Lance Canines:

Problem: The upper canines are much closer to the front than normal and therefore the bottom canine (mandibular canine) cannot fit between the upper canine and the adjacent incisor. Often the lower canine then strikes the lip, too. This condition is usually bilateral, which means that it is the same situation on both sides of the mouth. This condition also causes crowding, which can lead to plaque build-up and periodontal disease. (Veterinary Orthodontics)



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