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Updated on December 28, 2022
4 min read

Dog Braces - Types, Procedure & Costs

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Can Dogs Get Braces?

Yes, dogs can get braces. Veterinarians have used orthodontic appliances on dogs’ teeth since the late 20th century.1 

Though humans may use orthodontic procedures for cosmetic reasons, braces for dogs are purely functional. They can correct severe or even dangerous dental issues in dogs. 

While putting braces on your dog’s teeth may feel extreme, it can allow your dog to eat and chew comfortably. 

Why Might a Dog Need Braces?

Dogs can face many of the same dental issues as humans do. However, a veterinarian will only recommend braces for your dog under certain circumstances.

The most common reasons your dog may get braces include:

  • Linguoversion – This malocclusion occurs when one or more of the lower canine teeth grow inwardly. The linguoverted canine teeth may damage the soft tissue of the upper mouth and prevent your dog’s mouth from closing. It’s a genetic condition that can pass on if you breed your dog.2
  • Overbite – Your dog has an overbite when its upper jaw is longer than its lower jaw.
  • Crowded baby teeth – If your dog’s baby teeth don’t fall out, crowding and other dental issues can develop.
  • Surgical aftercare – Braces can prevent teeth from drifting after oral surgery, such as removing portions of the jaw due to cancer.

Braces are the most effective when applied to the teeth during the developmental stage.3 They can be an excellent solution before more radical treatments, such as grinding permanent teeth or tooth extractions.

How Can I Tell If My Dog Needs Braces?

You should monitor your dog’s oral health throughout its life. However, they are most likely to need orthodontic treatment at an early age. 

Dogs lose their baby teeth young and develop adult teeth between 4 and 6 months. This window is the time when they might need braces.

Symptoms that can indicate your dog needs braces include:

  • Dropping food or discomfort while eating
  • Acting head shy
  • Visible tooth changes

If you’re unsure whether your dog needs braces, consult your veterinarian.

Types of Braces for Dogs & How They Work

Dogs typically wear traditional metal braces similar to human braces. They use metal brackets glued to each tooth. An archwire covers all your dog’s teeth and connects to the brackets by elastic bands. 

Braces work by applying force to the teeth. This pressure moves the teeth into the desired position. The veterinarian can then remove the braces.

How Long Do Dogs Wear Braces?

Dogs wear braces for a much shorter period than humans do. While we might wear braces from 6 months to several years, dogs typically only wear braces for 2 to 3 months.

The length of time depends on the dental issue and treatment progress. Your vet will see your dog regularly for check-ups to evaluate its progress.

Once your vet is satisfied with the outcome, your dog can have the braces removed. Dogs don’t need retainers after braces.

Why is Dental Health Important for Dogs?

Dental issues are widespread in dogs, with 80% of dogs 3 years or older experiencing some form of gum disease.4

Many dog owners do not provide regular, at-home dental care.5 It can be easy to overlook issues in your dog’s mouth, but it can have serious consequences. Diligent oral health care is vital to maintaining your dog’s overall health.

If you don’t care for your dog’s dental health, it can cause issues such as:

  • Periodontal disease (gum disease)
  • Infections and abscesses
  • Broken or damaged teeth
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Teeth crowding
  • Cysts or tumors in the mouth
  • Jaw fractures

These issues can be severe and can have a ripple effect on other parts of your pet’s health. 

You must pay attention to your dog’s oral health. Many vets recommend frequent tooth brushing and regular check-ups.

Caring for a Dog with Braces

A few oral hygiene practices to follow when caring for your dog with braces are:

  • Brush your dog’s teeth daily
  • Rinse your dog’s mouth with oral antiseptic as directed
  • Consider switching to soft foods
  • Restrict the use of chew toys and bones

Speak with your vet for more detailed instructions on how to care for your dog with braces.

How Much Do Dog Braces Cost?

Dog braces for teeth typically range between $1,500 and $4,000, with an average cost of $2,750.

Cost can vary based on several factors, including:

  • Severity of the dental issue
  • Length and size of your dog’s jaw
  • Your dog’s age
  • Treatment duration
  • Amount of anesthesia needed during the procedure
  • Vet clinic’s unique pricing

Your dog’s veterinarian will provide a more precise price estimate for dog braces.

Will Pet Insurance Cover Them?

Some pet dental insurance plans cover dog braces for teeth, but you’ll need to read the fine print.

Some plans only cover dental accidents. There may also be restrictions for your dog based on its age. Always carefully read what your provider covers before purchasing a plan.

Summary

Dog braces for teeth treat certain dental problems, including linguoversion, overbites, and crowded teeth. Braces can be an effective part of your pet’s oral health care, which is vital to its overall health.

Most dogs who need braces get them when their adult teeth come in, around 4 to 6 months. If your dog gets braces, it will wear them for about 2 to 3 months. The cost of dog braces averages around $2,750.

Last updated on December 28, 2022
5 Sources Cited
Last updated on December 28, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
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