Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs

Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
16 Veterinary Answers

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Prepare for unexpected vet bills

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What is Malocclusion of Teeth?

When a dog's teeth do not properly align, misaligned teeth (malocclusion) could result in a dog choosing only to eat certain types of food (usually bigger chunks and ditching smaller portions altogether), discomfort, the inability to close its mouth, a noticeable overbite or an abnormal jaw growth. While puppy teeth (deciduous) are commonly linked to the reason for oral complications, there are other reasons, too.

A puppy, designated as such if it’s less than six months old, will have 28 baby teeth. When it reaches adulthood, the same canine will lose all of the “milk teeth” and have 42 adult teeth. Misalignment occurs when the puppy’s baby teeth set incorrectly and when the adult teeth follow and worsen the problem due to size and a hereditary link.

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Malocclusion of Teeth Average Cost

From 40 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$850

Symptoms of Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs

Sometimes called salmon jaw, two of the signs of a dog with teeth misalignment are either an overbite or a protruding lower jaw. The dog may also not be able to close its mouth or appear to always have the slightly open mouth of a fish.

Dogs with upper jaws that protrude over the lower jaw may take on the appearance of a parrot with the beak.

Other symptoms of a misaligned jaw include:

  • Food regularly falling from its mouth while chewing
  • Mixed dentition (puppy and adult teeth connected together or adult teeth not growing in)
Types

At approximately 10 months, a dog should have its full set of adult teeth. The ideal dog's teeth look like scissors once they've properly grown in, into a zigzag line.

There are several different types of malocclusion that may be diagnosed by the veterinarian; these include:

  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Level bite
  • Open bite
  • Anterior crossbite
  • Posterior crossbite
  • Wry mouth or bite
  • Base narrow canines

As mentioned above, a dogs bite will set at 10 months old. At this point, there is no chance that the improvement of malocclusions, such as an overbite or underbite, will happen on its own. Unbeknownst to some pet parents, there is a chance that your pets misalignment can worsen on its own. This is correlated to the fact that the permanent teeth are much larger than the baby, puppy, or “milk teeth.” When this happens your veterinarian will most likely suggest teeth extractions to make room for the incoming or already set teeth.

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Causes of Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs

For some animals, the misalignment makes no difference and treatment is not required, especially if the teeth misalignment appears to be hereditary. For other animals that have misaligned teeth due to remaining deciduous teeth that just won't fall out, this is commonly why an overbite or jaw misalignment is usually a possibility. Tartar buildup and plaque from not brushing teeth may also lead to oral diseases and possible alignment problems.

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Diagnosis of Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs

Opting out of dental radiographs (X-rays) can lead pet owners to miss approximately 75 percent of dog health issues, including oral diseases.

For teeth misalignment, the X-ray will confirm the state of teeth cleaning and possible remaining deciduous teeth. The X-ray will also be used to look for any signs of pus cavities under teeth due to oral infections, foreign objects, cysts, tumors and whether it's safe to assume that the misalignment is hereditary or not. While some cases may be more obvious than others, two-thirds of a dog's teeth are under the gums so they may not be viewable from first glance to a pet owner or even veterinarians.

Potential jaw fractures and signs of temporomandibular joints (TMJ) will also be looked at, the latter of which may also make it difficult for a dog to chew its food correctly or even open its mouth without experiencing pain.

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Treatment of Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs

For dogs that have teeth misalignment but can bite, chew and swallow without any problems, there may be no need for treatment. In dogs that experience the teeth or jaw alignment due to genetics, not much can be done to "correct" it outside of neutering or spaying the animal so future puppies will not have the same problem.

However, for dogs that experience pain, the first resolution will more often than not be to remove deciduous teeth, which are notoriously linked to oral discomfort and diseases in dogs past the age of 10 months. Veterinarians will encourage pet owners to pay special attention to the pattern of their dog's teeth during the puppy stages to avoid long-lasting issues.

If a dog is experiencing unusual behavior (heavy gulping, salivation and constantly rubbing at its own face), it's in pain or, at least, irritated. If foreign objects are the cause, those will be removed immediately once an X-ray identifies it.

Braces may be necessary to save good teeth from being extracted unnecessarily, especially if missing teeth are leading to other oral complications. The size of the braces will heavily depend on the shape and the size of the dog’s mouth and face.

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Recovery of Malocclusion of Teeth in Dogs

Dogs who wear braces may first have to get used to chewing differently and not being able to eat hard, dry dog food. The dog will also have to give up any hard chewing toys, or it may risk a tooth fracture or braces coming out of alignment. Dog braces are worn for approximately six months to one year, but in extreme cases, it may take as long as two years to correct the teeth misalignment issues.

Dogs should recover from tooth extraction within a few weeks, but four- to six-week checkups are recommended at least two to four times a year, in addition to regular cleaning to make sure the dog's teeth continue to be healthy.

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Malocclusion of Teeth Average Cost

From 40 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$850

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Malocclusion of Teeth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

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Anira

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Giant Schnauzer

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6 months

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Have Giant Schnauzer 6 months old puppy who has one lower canine tooth that is causing problems with impacting her upper palate. She had a cyst removed on her heard. (Nuchal cyst) and had an allergic reaction to the anesthetic. ? Which part of the anesthetic meds caused the reaction..Propofol, Midazaman?or Buphrenorphine? So, don’t wa;not any unnecessary anesthetic given. Dental vet offered these options to correct the one canine tooth problem: Dental braces (required anesthetic..plus our dog is a heavy chewer which could dislocate the braces and have to have antesthic again) other option: tooth reduction and vital pulp therapy...which requires anesthetic to treat then again for 6 mo checkup and every year anesthetize every year for check up for 5 consequetive years) Would there be any future problems if we just had the one canine tooth extracted? So, no further need for anyone more anesthesia

Nov. 14, 2017

Anira's Owner

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I cannot say which anaesthetic caused the reaction, but there are other various anaesthetic protocols which do not use these anaesthetic agents so there are other options; propofol does come in a soybean oil and egg fat based suspension so dogs with soy or egg allergies shouldn’t be given propofol. Your Veterinarian would be able to plan a different anaesthetic protocol using alternative anaesthetics (we have multiple different combinations at our disposal - just a case of being more cautious second time round. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Nov. 15, 2017

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Huxley

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Labradoodle

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7 Months

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Moderate severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Teeth

I have a dog aged 7 months old. His puppy teeth were removed as causing indents in his upper plate due to extended bottom jaw. His adult teeth have grown through and the same issue occurs. He is booked in to see a specialist where filing of the bigger teeth will be considered. The treatment is expensive and our pet insurance does not cover dental. Therefore we need to save up in the next 3 months but I am concerned whether this should not wait. He has no problem eating and does not seem in discomfort. I would appreciate your advice.

Oct. 24, 2017

Huxley's Owner

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There are varying degrees of severity and without examining Huxley’s teeth I cannot say for sure what the course of treatment should be; if there are no issues with the teeth irritating the soft tissue of the mouth, I wouldn’t be too concerned but you should keep a close eye on things. I think you should visit a Dental Specialist just to get an idea of possible options and pricing of surgery if required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DV

Oct. 24, 2017

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Malocclusion of Teeth Average Cost

From 40 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,500

Average Cost

$850

Vet bills can sneak up on you.

Plan ahead. Get the pawfect insurance plan for your pup.

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