Bite Evaluation and Orthodontic Appliances
The mouth should be both functional and comfortable! When the teeth don’t line up properly, both of these things can be affected, as well as the temporomandibular joint. Many times, malocclusions are noticed with the baby teeth, and should be evaluated in order to decide if/when intervention is necessary to ensure a comfortable occlusion with no long term issues. Certain breeds are prone to malocclusions, and some are even considered normal for a breed, but they still come with certain problems that can cause or accelerate periodontal disease. Orthodontic movement is one option for treatment of a malocclusion, and can be accomplished through a variety of appliances.
Correction of Malocclusion
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.