The title may seem humorous, but it is actually not meant to be! Humans are not the only creatures that can be born with bite issues or develop them during their lifetime. Almost any creature can have problems with their bite, and that includes man’s best friend. If your dog has dental issues, help may be out there in the form of canine braces.
Believe it or not, dogs can absolutely get braces. The first canine braces were created decades ago to help dogs suffering from painful, debilitating, or even life-threatening dental issues. The practice has gradually expanded, and you can indeed get braces for your canine companion right here in Torrance.
Why Would a Dog Need Braces?
Humans get braces more often for cosmetic reasons than for health reasons. Everyone wants to have a set of perfect teeth, after all. There are health issues that can require braces to correct in people, however, and many of these can also be present in dogs.
These conditions include misaligned teeth, crowded teeth, linguoversion, and overbites. Sometimes a dog may need braces to hold their remaining teeth in position after having certain kinds of oral surgery. Some of these issues are merely inconvenient, but others can cause a dog lifelong pain.
Traditional metal braces are the most common kind of braces used for dogs. Since a dog cannot be trained to remove and replace a retainer before eating, removable braces are not an option for canines.
Most of the issues that require correction by braces will appear in puppyhood, usually when the puppy is anywhere from four to six months old. Your vet will probably notice these issues before you do when your puppy goes in for regular exams.
In older dogs, look for signs of serious bite alignment issues, teeth jutting out (or in) where they are not supposed to be, and trouble eating. If you suspect dental issues, take your dog to see the vet and get a full dental exam. If your vet thinks your dog might need to get braces, you will get a referral to a canine dentist or orthodontist.
It is safe for a dog to get braces, provided there are no reasons your dog cannot be put under general anesthesia. Dogs have to be unconscious for the procedure, and your vet will probably recommend bloodwork prior to the surgery to make sure your canine friend is healthy enough for anesthesia. Several rounds of anesthesia might be required depending on the type of treatment your dog needs.
Other than the possible issue with anesthesia, the only issues your dog might face are the same ones humans do, such as broken or bent wires and brackets. You will have to watch for these while your dog is undergoing treatment. Inspect the braces daily to catch any developing problems.
Occasionally a general practice vet will know how to handle canine orthodontia, but more often your vet will refer you to a canine dentist or a canine orthodontist to ensure your dog gets the best care. There are several of these in the Torrance area for you to choose from. As with any other medical provider, look for a provider that both you and your dog are comfortable with.
This depends on the reason braces have been recommended for your dog. In most cases, you can choose to extract teeth, shorten problem teeth, or perform ball therapy to correct the issue. Some problems, particularly those arising from surgery, may not be correctable by other means. Speak to your vet or canine orthodontist if you want to find out alternatives for your specific case.
Caring for a dog with braces is simple and is similar to what humans have to do when they have braces. The dog will need to have his or her teeth brushed every day. Avoid giving your dog hard treats, chews, or bones during treatment. You may also have to provide him or her with only soft food until the braces come off. Your provider will give you specific instructions on braces care.
Not as long as humans, thankfully! Most people have to wear their braces for a few years in order to get the maximum benefit from them. Treatment time is much shorter for our canine friends - often down to a just a few weeks and usually less than a year. In addition, dogs usually do not have to wear a retainer to maintain their new bite after the braces are removed.
The price of getting braces for your best friend varies based on what issues are being treated and the extent of the treatment, just as it does for humans. Most orthodontic work for canines costs between $2000 and $5000, however.
One advantage to canine braces being reserved for health issues is that braces are often covered by pet health insurance plans. If you have such a health insurance plan for your dog and your vet recommends braces, consult your plan documents to see if the orthodontia will be covered in whole or part by the insurance. You might be in for a pleasant surprise!
Orthodontist of Torrance provides full-service orthodontic care to both children and adults. We offer you a range of options from traditional metal braces to Invisalign® clear aligners, all in a modern, innovative office featuring the latest in dental technologies. We even offer flexible appointment times to help you squeeze your dental care into your busy life.
Call Orthodontist of Torrance today at (424) 201-0712 and make an appointment for your first consultation!