Dog Braces - Does Your Dog Need Them?
Just like humans, some dogs might need braces. Dog braces are a real thing many dog owners are not familiar with, but they can help with your dog’s overall health and eating. Humans mostly get braces due to aesthetics, but in canine orthodontics, dog braces are never given to dogs unless there is a medical reason for it. If you suspect your dog might need dog braces, here is what you should know about them.
What are dog braces?
Dog braces can be described as orthodontic appliances that will realign the dog’s teeth. Dog owners rarely want to make their dog wear braces, but sometimes, it is inevitable. Some owners, especially breeders, want their dogs to have nice pearly whites, but dog braces are mostly given because there is a threat of severe health issues. The most common reasons dogs have to wear braces are;
This is the most common reason dogs have to wear braces. In this situation, the dog’s teeth are pushed back. The teeth are moved more towards the tongue, and in most cases, they rub against the roof of the dog’s mouth. In worst cases, the crooked teeth will poke holes. The holes will cause food to get into the dog’s nose, which can lead to severe infections and complications.
When the dog’s teeth develop improperly, their canines can point outward instead of downward. This issue will affect the dog’s upper canines. While the dog won’t seem to mind that one bit, these crooked teeth can affect their jaw development.
Some dogs can have a longer upper jaw than a lower jaw. This issue is called brachygnathism, after the Greek words “brachy” (short) and “gnathos” (jaw). Again, the main problem is not eating or aesthetics; instead, vets are mostly worried about improper jaw development.
Breeding and dog shows
Dogs with crooked teeth can’t get a breeding license, nor will they get good scores on dog shows. Many breeders will ask their vets for dog braces, so their dogs get better scores on shows. If you are buying a dog, you should always ask the breeder if their dog ever wore dog braces.
How will I know if my dog needs braces?
Most owners will have no idea their dog needs dog braces. However, if your dog shows signs of discomfort, you should take them to your vet and have them check out your dog’s teeth.
In most cases, dogs will show teeth issues when their adult teeth develop. By the time your dog is 6 months, their adult teeth should have kicked in, and you should see any potential issues showing. If that happens, your vet will check out your dog, and see if they are a candidate for dog braces. However, before your vet starts putting braces in your dog’s mouth, there are two more options you can explore.
Rubber ball therapy
The “rubber ball therapy” is the cheapest and least invasive method of fixing your dog’s improperly developed teeth. The dog orthodontist will show the owner how to place a lacrosse ball in their dog’s mouth, and the pressure can move the teeth in the desired position.
Extraction or filing
This method involves extracting or filing down the dog’s problem teeth. However, this method comes with its own risks, which you might expect from a cheaper method of solving teeth issues. Your dog will have to get regular checkups and adjustments in the future.
Getting the dog braces
If your vet thinks your dog is a prime candidate for dog braces, they will perform all the necessary tests and make sure your dog can undergo anesthesia. When the dog is under anesthesia, the vet will take x-rays and clean the dog’s teeth. They will place the braces on and see how your dog’s teeth develop. The whole process of putting the braces on the dog takes between 30 and 90 minutes, depending on the severity of the situation.
How to care for a dog with braces?
The good news is - caring for a dog with braces is not that difficult. The dog will adjust pretty quickly, but the owner should be careful what they give to their dog. In some cases, dogs will have to switch to soft food, and treats like bones or dental chews are off-limits.
The owner will have to brush their dog’s teeth regularly, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem since that is a part of a regular grooming routine. It is also advisable you use oral antiseptic for cleaning your dog’s teeth.
How long do dogs wear dog braces?
Unlike humans, where realigning the teeth can take years, dogs wear braces relatively short. Depending on the severity of the case, dogs can wear dog braces between a few weeks and a few months. It is considered a relatively fast process.
How much do dog braces cost?
There is no sugarcoating it - dog braces are expensive. They cost between $1.500 - $4.000. The exact price will be determined by the exact situation in your dog’s mouth and how much work needs to be done.
World Dog Finder team