What is a Canine Malocclusion?

Malocclusions (bite alignment problems) are quite common in veterinary patients. They can be purely cosmetic, or can cause issues. Bubbas is a young dog who was referred to Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery by a family veterinarian who identified a a significant issue with his lower left canine. The canine had erupted into the middle of his mouth, because of the incorrect eruption path, it was infraerupted and the deciduous (puppy) canine was retained.

Pre-operative dental radiograph showing the malposition of the adult (permanent) canine (white arrow) and persistent (retained) deciduous (puppy) canine (yellow arrow).

Bubbas was placed under anesthesia and dental radiographs taken which confirmed the placement of the teeth, but also bone destruction around the crown of the infraerupted canine which is indicative of a dentigerous cyst.

Pre-operative dental picture of area which revealed bone loss (likely a cyst) (red circle) and the minimal bone in the area (white arrows).

If this had been allowed to grow, it could have resulted in a pathologic fracture.  In addition, the infraeruption will increase the chances of periodontal disease. The radiograph further confirmed that the minimal bone around the tooth.

Dr. Niemiec carefully extracted both the adult and puppy canines as well as 2 incisor and premolars to get the tooth out. 

Intraoperative picture showing how embedded the canine was in this case.

Post-operative dental radiograph confirming that the teeth were fully extracted, and the jaw is intact.

The post-op radiograph confirmed that the teeth were complete removed and the jaw was intact.  The surgery site was closed and Bubbas went on to have a complete recovery. 

Post-operative dental picture showing complete closure.

This case illustrates the value of complete oral exams in all (even young) patients.  By evaluating these teeth early and providing definitive therapy early, we can avoid major complications. These cases are best handled by veterinary dentists who have the experience and tools to extract these teeth without fracturing the fragile jaws. 

Picture of the extracted teeth demonstrating how much bigger the roots are than the crowns (crown is to the left of the black line).