Orthodontic Treatment & Bite Evaluation
Eruption of Permanent (Adult) Dentition
Dogs and cats have two sets of teeth much like people do. The first set are called deciduous teeth and these teeth are usually fully erupted by about six to eight weeks of age. The permanent or adult teeth usually erupt between sixteen and twenty four weeks of age. When your pet’s teeth do not erupt at the appropriate time or in the appropriate place. they may end up contacting other teeth or soft tissues of the oral cavity. These abnormal bite presentations are referred to as malocclusions. Malocclusions can be caused by underlying genetic skeletal growth problems, or by non-genetic events such as trauma or persistent deciduous teeth. Using an orthodontic treatment bite evaluation, Animal Dental Center can help identify any malocclusions.
Because a malocclusion may have an underlying genetic causes, it is important, to diagnose the malocclusion and discuss the dog or cat’s breeding. The problem in the case of a genetic defect, is that genetically coded jaw growth is responsible for carrying the teeth out of alignment. Therefore the jaw quadrants and their respective teeth must be evaluated individually. If a genetic cause is identified in a possible breeding animal it would be grounds to exclude them from future breeding. It is important to remember that not all malocclusions are genetic. Animals without a genetic component to their malocclusion, do not pose problems to subsequent generations. The most important concept in orthodontics is to provide the animal a healthy bite, free of pain and chronic infections. At the Animal Dental Center we believe that every pet deserves a comfortable, function bite, and our goal of orthopedic treatment bite evaluation is always to achieve comfort and function.
Extraction of Persistent Deciduous Teeth
Persistent deciduous teeth are deciduous (or ‘primary’ or ‘baby’ teeth) teeth that do you resorb and exfoliate (or fall out) when they should. Persistent deciduous teeth are a problem because they crowd and force the erupting adult tooth into an inappropriate position. Treatment is most effective when the persistent deciduous tooth is extracted in a timely fashion. The best time to act is as soon as it becomes apparent that the permanent tooth is visible and the deciduous tooth is still present. Sometimes a deciduous tooth erupts in an abnormal position and immediately causes trauma – a maloccluding or improperly positioned deciduous tooth should be extracted (or tipped into a normal position if applicable) as soon as possible because it can cause pain and infection and in many cases predisposes the adult tooth to erupting abnormally as well.
The Problem with Maloccluded Teeth
If persistent deciduous teeth or maloccluding permanent teeth are not corrected, the maloccluded teeth can and will traumatize otherwise normal emerging adult teeth causing them to move out of alignment. Traumatic occlusion can lead to devitalization or tooth death and increased risk of periodontal disease. In addition, if the tooth is inappropriately contacting the soft tissue of the hard palate (the roof of the mouth) it may eventually create a permanent hole into the nasal sinus. This will lead to chronic infections of the nasal cavity as well as chronic pain.