The Short Answer is:
Crooked teeth in your dog are probably the result of genetics. Usually, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. As long as the dog is not bothered by crooked teeth, there is no need to treat it. Remember the saying – don’t fix what ain’t broken. Occasionally, however, the malocclusion may leave the dog in a lot of pain and interfere with his eating, in which case you should follow your veterinarian’s advice.
In this article you will know the answer to the query “Why Has My Dog Got Crooked Teeth?“.
There is a problem that many pet parents are wondering about. What is the reason for my dogs crooked teeth?
This is usually a genetic problem that only becomes apparent once the dog gets permanent teeth.
Your options depend on whether your dog is bothered by it or not.
The best thing you can do is leave the dogs teeth alone if he seems fine. If the dog is in pain or is having trouble eating your vet will probably refer you to a canine dental specialist.
This article discusses the various types of dog teeth misalignment and the treatment options available.
What you need to know about teeth misalignment in dogs
A dogs misaligned teeth are referred to by a doctor as malocclusion or misalignment of the teeth.
When the dogs bite does not match up properly this occurs.
Theres nothing perfect about your dogs smile! As soon as your puppys baby teeth appear you might notice this but in many cases you will not notice it until the adult teeth come in.
The most common types of teeth misalignment in dogs are detailed below
- A condition is known as overbite (or overshot)
- A condition is known as underbite (or undershot)
- Equal bite (also called level bite)
- Open bite (the front teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed)
- Anterior crossbite (where one or lower incisors are ahead of the upper incisors but the canines and premolars occlude normally)
- An anterior crossbite occurs when one or more premolar teeth overlap the upper teeth.
- A wry mouth or bite (one side of the jaw grows longer than the other)
- Canines at the base are narrow (lower teeth protrude into the upper palate)
One of the most common malocclusions is an overbite in which the upper teeth close over the lower ones.
The upper jaw may be longer in many cases giving the appearance of a beak which is why the condition is sometimes called parrot beak.
When do adult teeth set in?
A puppys first teeth begin to grow between 2-4 weeks of age.
It is likely that you have missed their first tooth if he is still at the breeder. Its normal for the baby teeth to appear by 5-6 weeks but do not worry if they’re a bit late.
There are 28 baby teeth in a puppy and they should start falling when he is between 12-16 weeks of age.
You will probably notice the milk teeth on the ground and they would not be much larger than a grain of rice in this phase.
In an adult dog there are 42 teeth that should all appear by age 10 months.
An incisor is one of the smaller front teeth between the upper and lower jaws.
The purpose of these muscles is to grasp food and to keep the tongue inside the mouth.
The canines are situated behind the front teeth and are also used for grasping.
In front of the canines are the premolars and they are used for cutting or shearing food.
The molars are located at the back of the mouth and are used to chew.
Most often milk teeth are misaligned but because milk teeth are so small the problem is less visible.
The adult teeth that follow are larger so any misalignment will become evident.
What are the main signs of teeth misalignment in dogs?
If you do not intend to enter your dog in a dog show you probably did not pay much attention to how his teeth look. When a pet parent notices their dog is having difficulty eating they realize there is a problem with the teeth. The symptoms are as follows:
- When chewing food regularly falls from the dogs mouth
- Avoiding certain types of food which might be difficult to grasp
- Mixed dentition (puppy and adult teeth coexisting)
- No adult teeth growing in
Perhaps the vet is the one who first points out to you that the dogs teeth are crooked. This usually happens when you bring your dog in for a regular check-up. Your vet may refer you to a dental specialist and your dog will probably need X-rays at this point.
It can be quite confusing to visit a doggie dentist as they often use complex terminology and suggest various procedures. It is recommended that you seek a second opinion if you have never noticed your dog having a problem eating or playing with his chew toys. Having a dental procedure done can be quite expensive and it can be quite painful for your dog.
How is a malocclusion treated in dogs?
When your dog is still a puppy it is best to wait until the adult teeth appear before correcting the misalignment. There is a possibility that the problem will get worse but it can also resolve itself on its own.
Next you should determine whether your dog is bothered by the misaligned teeth which you alone can determine. The dog does not need treatment if he can chew bite and swallow without difficulty. The majority of malocclusion problems are genetic so talk to the breeder about your dogs parents. The best thing to do is leave your own pup alone if the parents did not have issues with their crooked teeth.
The majority of veterinarians will tell you that they would not recommend unnecessary procedures or just for cosmetic reasons but you should keep in mind that there is a lot of money at stake. With the cost of a simple tooth cleaning ranging between $450 and $1000 you can imagine how much extractions and braces will cost you. (Yes there are dog braces and we’ll discuss them in a bit!)
In order to do whats best for your dog you need to consider whether he is in pain or not.
It is possible that your dogs unusual behavior such as gulping salivation or rubbing at his own face is caused by the pain in his teeth and it is time to take action. A doctor will probably recommend removing the baby teeth if the adult teeth are crowding the baby ones.
You may have to file your dogs lower teeth if they are rubbing against the palate due to an overbite. This will prevent painful sores in your pets mouth.
How do dog braces work?
Your dogs dentist might recommend braces if he has crooked teeth just like with children. Ideally this option would prevent good teeth from being extracted as this might also lead to various dental complications. Despite the fact that it may sound outlandish dog braces have been around for over 30 years.
You will have to have your dogs mouth measured carefully so the dentist can determine the right size and shape of the braces.
As the braces will be fitted under general anesthesia your dog might need a series of tests to determine whether or not he is healthy enough to undergo this type of procedure. As noted above theres a chance he might need to be put under general anesthetic several times so you might want to discuss this not only with the dentist but also with your regular vet.
Costs also need to be considered. An expensive option would be to fit a dog with braces so you need to invest quite a bit of money.
How do you care for a dog with braces?
In contrast to teenagers dogs do not have to wear braces for several years like they would for a teenager. From 6 to 12 months the dog will usually need braces. Due to their lack of self-consciousness dogs would not have a cosmetic issue with braces but they will experience a lot of problems. This is true for humans as well.
In the first place your dog will probably need to switch to soft foods the whole time he has braces. As for chewing toys he will have to give them up while bones cannot be eaten.
In addition theres the very sensitive issue of oral hygiene which will hurt you just as much as it will hurt the dog. Its important to examine your dogs mouth regularly preferably while brushing his teeth. Food residue that accumulates in and around the braces can lead to cavities so you’ll need to brush your dogs teeth regularly like once a day. To prevent infection you will also need an antiseptic solution.
Crooked teeth in your dog are probably the result of genetics. Usually theres nothing you can do to prevent it. As long as the dog is not bothered by crooked teeth there is no need to treat it. Remember the saying – do not fix what ainot broke.
Occasionally however the malocclusion may leave the dog in a lot of pain and interfere with his eating in which case you should follow your veterinarians advice. Perhaps he’ll need a few teeth extracted or filed but theres also a chance he’ll need braces. You might be lucky and your braces will correct the problem after a few months.