Dental Corner: Canine orthodontics: Providing healthy occlusions - Veterinary Medicine
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Dental Corner: Canine orthodontics: Providing healthy occlusions


Rostroversion of the maxillary canine tooth

Figure 6A. Orthodontic correction of rostroversion of the maxillary canine tooth in a Shetland sheepdog. Note the malposition of the lance tooth (arrow). Orthodontic buttons have been cemented to the maxillary canine tooth, the maxillary fourth premolar, and the maxillary first molar (under the composite). An elastic power chain is attached to these buttons and is being used to create a caudal tipping force on the malpositioned canine tooth. Composite bonding has been used to stabilize the maxillary fourth premolar and the maxillary first molar together to provide sufficient anchorage. 6B. Three weeks into therapy, the canine tooth (same tooth as in 6A) has moved into an almost normal position.
Rostroversion of the maxillary canine tooth, also called the lance tooth, is an orthodontic problem encountered most commonly in Shetland sheepdogs. A common method of correction involves using a cheek elastic fixed to orthodontic buttons that have been cemented in specific places on selected teeth. Success depends on the ability to supply sufficient anchorage in the caudal part of the dentition to accomplish movement of the large-rooted canine tooth. To achieve sufficient anchorage, the carnassial tooth (maxillary fourth premolar) and the maxillary first molar must be stabilized together (Figures 6A & 6B).


The critical steps in dealing with orthodontic problems in dogs include properly diagnosing the problem, determining the most appropriate method to achieve the goal of a healthy and comfortable occlusion, counseling owners about breeding and future showing potential, and selecting the proper orthodontic treatment technique. Clients need to be taught how to provide good oral hygiene and must commit to frequent follow-up visits during the treatment. Some therapies such as deciduous tooth extraction and rubber ball therapy can easily be incorporated into general veterinary practice. The more advanced techniques involving appliance fabrication and application are best referred to a veterinary dental specialist. A list of veterinary dental specialists is available at


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Dr. Daniel T. Carmichael
The information and photographs for "Dental Corner" were provided by Daniel T. Carmichael, DVM, DAVDC, Veterinary Medical Center, 75 Sunrise Highway, West Islip, NY 11795.


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