Painful Bite

By February 3, 2019Family Pet Veterinary Blog

As described in a
recent post, dental
conditions are often hidden and painful. The following posts are
going to help describe conditions that pets can get as well as
treatment. Many people I talk with are surprised how we can help pets
with dental conditions and save teeth whenever possible.

A common problem
often found late in the course of progression, is linguoverted
canines. This means the lower canine teeth (aka “fangs”) are
erupting nearer the tongue and contacting the roof of the mouth.

This is another of
the hidden painful conditions. If allowed to progress, two common
sequela occur: a hole in the roof of the mouth (not good) and/or the
lower jaw gets stuck in place and cannot grow appropriately during
puppyhood resulting in misalignment that can have pain and crowding
progressing to infection. Skeletal maturity is reached often near 10
month of age in dogs making the jaw less likely to continue to grow.
Treatments can still be done but none will result in correction of
all alignment. The sooner this problem is found and treated, the
more likely the body will correct itself.

Sometimes we use
incline planes to change the angle of the tooth naturally as a dog
bites down. This is usually placed for 3-6 weeks. After the acrylic
is removed the surrounding soft tissues are irritated but heal up in
just a few days.

Other times we are
fortunate to be able to just use acrylic composites to extend the
length of the canine tooth, helping the tooth to tip into the correct

If a patient will not tolerate one of the above treatments, or is an anesthetic risk requiring a single procedure, an intentional crown shortening can be performed with a vital pulp therapy (miniature root canal therapy) to save the shortened tooth. It is always better and usually more successful to keep the full normal tooth structure when possible, thus vital pulp therapy is not a first choice treatment.

Occasionally this condition is mild and will be caught very early
thus is corrected with only extraction of the baby teeth and
recontouring of the gumline:

This is usually a
genetic condition and breeding a pet after one of these procedures is
unethical due to the risk of passing this condition on to offspring.