A common problem which pet owners face is a malocclusion in their dog or cat. This general term refers to the abnormal position of a tooth or teeth, relative to one another. This can be a result of askeletal abnormality, in which there is a discrepancy in jaw length or width, or from a dental abnormality, in which there is a malpositioned tooth or teeth. Sometimes it can be a combination of the two. Regardless of its origin, the result of a malocclusion can be discomfort and pain, loss of function, or significant oral pathology over time.
A skeletal malocclusion is usually hereditary, unless a developmental cause can be identified. Many animals have some degree of malocclusion, but it isn't serious enough to require treatment. Those with more severe malocclusions may require orthodontic treatment and sometimes surgical treatment to correct the problem. Correction of malocclusion may reduce the risk of tooth damage and help relieve excessive pressure on the jaw.
Because we are dental specialists, we are able to correctly evaluate the occlusion of dogs and cats, and perform orthodontic movement of teeth if it is necessary. There are instances when adjusting the bite by moving a tooth (or teeth) is appropriate. Our goal is to restore comfort and function in your pet, and our specialists can discuss the different options with you at your consultation. Early recognition and treatment is key to preventing pain, discomfort or the development of a more severe oral abnormality.