What Are Dog Braces for Teeth?

What Are Dog Braces for Teeth

Dog braces for teeth are orthodontic appliances used to correct dental issues like malocclusions and underbites.

Dog braces for teeth or retainers are similar in build to human teeth braces but a little different in function. While human braces are used for cosmetic reasons and to correct the position of teeth, dog braces have a more medical basis.

Dog braces for teeth are used to correct the chewing in dogs or relieve painful adult teeth issues. Dog braces have been used in veterinary dentistry for more than 30 years.

Why Do Dogs Need Braces for Their Teeth?

There are various reasons why a dog would need to get braces. Some of these reasons are specific to certain dog breeds due to the natural setting of the teeth, whereas others can occur in all dogs.

Here are the most common reasons for using dog braces for teeth:

  • Crowded Teeth. This condition usually develops in dogs with extra teeth (retained deciduous or baby teeth) or rotated teeth that cause crowding inside the mouth. Crooked teeth issues can cause soft tissue trauma, excessive wear, misaligned teeth, and severe pain. In the long run, overcrowded teeth can also lead to periodontal diseases.
  • Lance Teeth. This is a breed-specific issue. For example, in Shetland Sheepdogs, lance teeth are commonly seen where the upper canine teeth are more forward aligned than normal. This can be in one of the front canines or both of them. This displacement of the front tooth brings it in contact with the front incisors making unnatural tooth-to-tooth contact. This condition can hinder the closing of the mouth, lead to ulcers due to excessive tooth-to-tooth contact, and increase the risk of periodontal diseases. Veterinarians commonly advise dog braces to correct the positioning of the displaced tooth in such cases.
  • Overbites/Underbites. These are genetic conditions common in certain breeds. In such cases, the dog’s lower jaw is more prominent or far behind the upper jaw. This leads to irregular bite or malocclusion. Dog braces for teeth can be used to align the lower jaw with the upper jaw to some extent and ensure a correct and comfortable bite.
  • Linguoversion. This condition is breed-specific and is common in Collie breeds. Linguoversion is the condition where the lower canines develop inward rather than outward. This makes the closing of the mouth difficult. Additionally, the constant friction of lower teeth with the upper roof of the mouth can also lead to holes in it.
  • Postoperative Treatments. In cases of cancer where the dog’s jaw gets removed, teeth braces are commonly used in the aftercare. The dog braces for teeth to ensure that the teeth don’t sway out of position.
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What Are the Benefits of Braces for Dogs?

Dog braces for teeth can help with various dental issues. Here are the benefits of using braces for your dog’s dental conditions:

  • Alternative to Surgery. Most of the above-mentioned dental conditions can be corrected using surgeries or tooth removal. Linguoversion and crowded dog teeth are most commonly suggested to be treated operatively. However, not every dog’s age and health issues permit them to undergo surgeries. Moreover, surgeries are expensive and require a good amount of investment in preoperative diagnosis and postoperative care. Dog braces are a safe and non-invasive alternative to surgeries.
  • Non-Invasive Treatment. Braces can be tricky to get used to for your dog initially. However, after a few days, as they wear braces, they become a part of their body, and there is not much discomfort to be dealt with. Teeth braces are a gentle orthodontic treatment option as opposed to surgeries that are more painful and have a longer recovery period.
  • Controlled Pressure. Teeth braces work on the function of controlled pressure. Braces are fixed tightly in the misaligned place, exerting a controlled amount of pressure to facilitate the alignment without any severe pain gradually. Since it is a gradual process, the associated pain quotient is also lesser than surgeries or teeth removal.
  • Easy Maintenance. Dog braces, on a daily basis, are easy to maintain. They should be cleaned and sanitized if required. Although there is a chance of tartar deposits on braces, they can be cleaned easily with the help of a brush and oral antiseptics for dogs. Thus, braces are a pain-free and easy-to-maintain form of treatment for dental problems in dogs.

How do Dog Braces for Teeth Work?

How do Dog Braces for Teeth Work

There arise several questions when you consider putting dog braces for teeth, and here are the answers to all of them:

  • Do Braces Change the Jawline? As explained earlier, braces for dogs are used primarily to treat medical conditions and not to redefine any part of the face. Braces don’t cause any permanent change to the jawline, although there might be a minimum overall enhancement of the jaw. This is primarily a result of the change in the teeth’s alignment that makes the jaw look different.
  • Do Braces Change the Mouth Shape? After using braces on your dog, you will surely notice a change in the shape of their mouth. This is because of your dog’s orthodontic conditions: overbite, lanced teeth, and such that keep them from closing their mouths completely. Once the braces have fixed this issue, there shouldn’t be any problem in closing their mouth. This will, as a result, make the shape of your dog’s mouth seem different than pre-treatment.
  • Do Braces Change the Lip Shape? Braces can change the shape of lips if the braces are used on the front teeth since the front teeth are responsible for the appearance and fullness of the upper lips. If braces cured any misalignment in the front teeth, the after-results might exhibit a different lip shape. This is entirely normal. Instead, this is what your dog’s lips would have looked like, naturally, in the absence of the orthodontic condition.

How Long Does It Take to Put Braces on a Dog?

The overall timing for setting dog braces for teeth and the duration your dog has to keep the braces on depends mainly on their age, health condition, and orthodontic issue.

When it comes to the attachment of braces, it is usually carried out under veterinary supervision. Your dog will be put under the effect of anesthesia before the braces are fixed on its teeth. The entire process should not take more than 30-90 minutes. When your dog wakes up after the anesthesia, it will already have its braces on.

When it comes to the number of days or months that your dog needs to keep the braces on, there is a larger variability. Depending on the age and dental issue that needs to be treated, dogs may need to use braces from 6 – 12 months. “However, orthodontic procedures are often complex, requiring multiple visits and rechecks,” states Lorraine Hiscox, a veterinary dentist based in Canada.

How Much Are Teeth Braces for Dogs?

It is a given that treating your dog’s teeth will not be cheap.

In general, for common dental issues, the cost ranges from $1000-$5,000. Complex orthodontic situations may require a higher cost owing to the greater amount of preoperative tests. This cost may vary depending on the size and life stage.

Using dog braces for teeth for managing orthodontic issues or preventing further damage must always be done under expert care. Therefore, dog owners should consult a vet and a dental specialist. Also, some pet insurances cover the cost of dog braces for teeth.