It may seem strange, but dogs can wear braces – and have been for 40 years.
Braces can help dogs suffering from a painful bite or gum trauma.
They are used to bring the teeth into a non-contact position to avoid pain and discomfort in the mouth.
Veterinarians have been using braces and other orthodontic devices since the 1980s to help achieve a healthier, more comfortable bite in dogs.
While many of the procedures used in human orthodontics are very similar, the end goal is very different – orthodontic braces for dogs are never aesthetic.
Veterinarian Bob Partridge from Vet Dentist in North Yorkshire has everything you need to know about braces for dogs.
Why does your dog need braces?
The vast majority of veterinary dentists will spend their time researching alternative options to orthodontic braces, says Bob. However, there are cases when orthodontic movement is appropriate.
Your dog may need orthodontic braces if their lower canines touch the roof of the mouth and cause damage.
Common dental problems in dogs are the linguo version, in which the teeth are pushed back towards the tongue; Overbite, in which the lower jaw is shorter than the upper; and lance teeth with the upper canines pointing outward.
(Image: Getty Images)
How are braces fitted?
Before putting on dog braces, a qualified veterinarian will examine the dog’s mouth and make sure it is healthy in order to undergo anesthesia.
The animal is then placed under general anesthesia, X-rays are taken and an impression of the mouth is made.
Dog clips come in different shapes and sizes. Some can be attached to the roof of the mouth, others are wire tracks on the teeth.
The orthosis is often only put on for several weeks. Excellent oral hygiene is essential during this time. The dog may also need to switch to a soft food diet.
The dentist can take most x-rays before removing the braces. If the braces are carefully and correctly fitted, the teeth will remain in the correct, non-impinging position.
Unlike humans, dogs don’t need to wear braces after their braces.
What are the alternative options?
Alternatives can be extraction and crown amputation.
Pulling and removing teeth is generally avoided as it can be complicated and sometimes painful.
With a crown amputation, the problematic teeth are shortened into a joint-free position.
(Image: Getty Images)
How must do dog braces cost?
The price varies enormously, depending on the animal and dental problem. Generally the whole procedure starts at £ 1,500.
Are dog braces painful?
Every orthodontic movement is associated with a degree of discomfort. However, good techniques and proper anesthesia will minimize this pain.
If the braces are badly seated, they can kill the teeth and cause pain.
Are dog clips used for aesthetic reasons?
No veterinarian should perform aesthetic procedures. Dog braces are only used to avoid pain and discomfort in the mouth.
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