Healthy and strong white teeth in a dog – the key to a great appetite and good digestion. This means that the pet will also feel great. That is why it is so important to monitor the bite in the first months of the puppy’s life and, if necessary, correct it with a specialist.
How to distinguish the correct bite
A proper bite is called a scissor bite. When the dog closes its jaws, the teeth come together in a lock, the incisors from below touch the back of the incisors from above.
What bite needs correction:
- straight – the incisors on both sides are on top of each other, which prevents the chewing teeth from closing behind and canines. As a result, the entire load when chewing food is taken over by the incisors, which are erased faster. Teeth that chew food are destroyed faster;
- snacking – the incisors on top are behind the lower ones. This bite can only be considered correct in fighting dogs;
- nedokus – incisors from above, on the contrary, protrude above the lower ones. This is the most dangerous pathology for the dog’s health, although many dog owners consider it a cute feature of the pet;
- open – the incisors on the jaw do not touch at all;
- cross – the lower incisors go behind these teeth in the upper jaw;
- curve – with different degrees of development of the jaws, which makes the muzzle look asymmetrical.
Veterinarians know cases when baby teeth do not fall out, but grow together with the root teeth, and two “sets”grow in the mouth at once. This is also considered an anomaly, like non-cutting of molars.
The risk of malocclusion
A bite that requires correction is a matter of both aesthetics and health. Due to dental diseases that are a consequence, internal organs and the oral mucosa suffer, sinusitis can develop.
It is especially important to have a good bite for animals that visit exhibitions and are involved in breeding work. An anomaly can be inherited, and such offspring will not have the desired value.
Why does the bite develop incorrectly:
- hereditary factor;
- the wrong sequence of change of teeth;
- lack of minerals in the diet;
- “overload” of growing teeth;
- excessively large molars.
You can detect malocclusion in a dog that has reached a certain age. As a rule, the owner notices the pathology of the jaws in the puppy after four months. You should immediately start correcting your bite before it’s too late. In dogs, after a year, it is much more difficult to achieve the desired result due to compaction of the jaw bones and grown molars.
How to correct the bite doctors
For correction, you should visit an orthodontist veterinarian. Methods of correcting the same methods that are used by dentists is the installation of splints and braces.
Mouthguards are a modern way. These are clear acrylic staples that can be removed for eating and cleaning, which is more convenient. The veterinarian under anesthesia makes a cast from the jaw and makes a mouthguard that will fit closely to the dog’s teeth and press as needed. You need to visit a doctor when installing mouthguards every 1-2 weeks – he replaces them so that the teeth are gradually displaced. You will need to keep the mouthguards on for as long as possible during the day, as long as the dog can stand it. Every day they are removed, cleaned with toothpaste and washed.
Braces are not removed, unlike mouthguards, and are installed once and for the entire period of bite correction. This is a complex structure consisting of Nickel-titanium wire of a certain thickness and locks. The orthodontist bends the wire as needed, fixing the device on the lower and upper jaw. Its thickness is selected individually in each case – the degree of pressure on the teeth depends on it.
After installing braces, you need to periodically visit a doctor to tighten the plates, gradually changing the level of rotation and tilt of the corrected teeth. By varying these parameters, it is possible to change the pressure on certain teeth and to more effectively align the bite. At home, they monitor the oral hygiene of the pet – during the entire period of wearing braces, you need to at least rinse your mouth from food residues, and as much as possible brush the dog’s teeth.
If the bite needs to be corrected in an adult animal, only braces will help. If you know that you will definitely have to put them, then train the animal to brush its teeth in advance. Braces are not put if there are contraindications – mainly diseases of the oral cavity.
How to prevent malocclusion
If the malocclusion is not due to a genetic feature, then preventive measures will help to avoid the development of pathology.
These measures are simple:
- provide the dog with a proper diet – give food rich in calcium, vitamin D3, and trace elements. If the pet eats dry food, then it should be selected in accordance with its age, if natural, then give vitamin and mineral supplements;
- have a regular check-up with a veterinarian. This is especially important during the period of changing baby teeth. The doctor will check that the bite is formed correctly;
- on the recommendation of the veterinarian, give the puppy something hard to chew, so that the baby teeth fall out more quickly and the bite is not broken.
While the pet is still a puppy, the doctor can correct the situation without mouthguards and braces by installing a rubber ring.
If it is already noticeable that the dog’s bite becomes incorrect, then consult a veterinarian. A professional examination will show you what caused it and how to correct the anomaly. Sometimes minor defects do not require correction, but if the dog goes to exhibitions or participates in breeding puppies, or an incorrect bite interferes with the assimilation of food, then the intervention of an orthodontist is necessary.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.