Taking care of dogs used to be so straightforward: a bit of kibble, a bit of exercise, good to go. In recent years, veterinary science has made great strides to improve the health, comfort, and longevity of our four-legged friends, and good oral health contributes to all three. Pet health experts even propose that some dogs may greatly benefit from dental braces—not for cosmetic purposes of course, but to correct teeth misalignments that may cause the dog pain, difficulty eating, and potentially worse problems down the line.
Orthodontics for Dogs
It may seem silly to think about your pup with braces. After all, he definitely doesn't care if his pearly whites line up perfectly before it's time to take senior prom photos! However, valid medical reasons exist for getting braces for a dog. Misaligned teeth can lead to "traumatic occlusions"—that is, bite misalignment that results in injury to soft tissue and/or to teeth. Traumatic occlusions can cause fractures, tooth inflammation (pulpitis), periodontal inflammation, and death of the tooth—all of which can cause the dog a great deal of pain. In some cases, orthodontic extraction, or pulling the tooth, will give him relief; in other cases, braces do the trick. The braces can be simple and limited to a small area to guide a tooth or two, or they can resemble the full set you had as a teenager. The cost will depend on your pup's need but can run between $1,000 and $1,500.
It's important also to note that braces are not suitable and appropriate for all types of dogs depending on such factors as face shape, size, and the pet's unique behaviors. If you suspect that your pup may benefit from braces, do thorough research in order to find a licensed and ethical animal dental health practitioner specializing in orthodontic care.
By Betty Lewis
About the Author
Betty Lewis has been writing professionally since 2000, specializing in animal care and issues, business analysis and homeland security. Lewis holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from West Virginia University as well as master's degrees from Old Dominion University and Tulane University.