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Does Your Dog Need Braces?

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Smiling dog

It may seem like a funny question, but dental correction for dogs can help correct serious problems that would otherwise harm your dog’s overall health.  A misaligned bite such as extreme over or underbite can prevent a dog from being able to chew food properly.  When this happens, the dog will often stop eating.

The February 2015 issue of Dog Fancy states dental problems of this nature are commonly found in toy breeds such as Yorkies or Maltese.  The problem begins when the dog’s baby teeth don’t fall out naturally to make room for the adult teeth.  The dog’s mouth is overcrowded, teeth are crooked and spaces between the teeth become harbors for bacteria.

Dog’s baby teeth should typically fall out naturally by six months of age.  If they haven’t come out naturally by then, it’s recommended they be extracted to make room for the adult teeth.  A bracket may then be required to straighten the remaining teeth and correct bite problems.

Sometimes a dog is born with severe over or underbite that requires bands, similar to braces, on the teeth to correct the bite.  The procedure, and associated costs, is not so different from those for humans.  If you have pet insurance, check the policy to see if costs for these procedures is covered.

So, what are the signs your dog may need extensive dental care?  Typical signs are frequent pawing of the mouth, extremely bad breath and reluctance to eat.

Even if your dog doesn’t have a problem with his bite, if he frequently chews very hard objects such as antlers, bones and ice he may fracture a tooth and require serious dental care.

The best advice is to schedule semi annual dental exams for your dog.  Check his mouth yourself in between exams to be sure there aren’t any problems needing attention before the next appointment.


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