Veterinary Orthodontic Therapy
Malocclusions refer to a situation where the teeth do not line up correctly. Some malocclusions are “normal” for the breed, such as in brachycephalics(Boxers, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Bostons, etc..). They are common in dogs, but less so in cats. Any misalignment of the teeth is considered to be heritable, meaning that it is passed genetically from the parents, even if they do not have a malocclusion themselves. For this reason, we generally advise against repeated breedings of the dam and sire. Maloccluded teeth can lead to premature dental wear, fractured teeth, advanced periodontal disease, soft tissue trauma, and most importantly, pain and discomfort. We feel that all animals should have a comfortable mouth, and can provide treatment to correct or eliminate malocclusions. Often, this means selective extractions of the offending teeth, but we may also have the option of crown shortening with vital pulp therapy to eliminate the problem. We can also provide orthodontic movement to move the teeth into an appropriate occlusion.
Here you can see the damage being done to the soft tissue on the roof of the mouth from a malocclusion involving the lower canine teeth.
This problem can be noticed when the deciduous (baby) teeth are present, before the permanent teeth even erupt.
Orthodontic appliances can be fashioned from acrylic that is bonded to the teeth. This serves to move the misaligned teeth into proper occlusion and alleviates the need for extractions.