Underbite....needs lower canines removed - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 09:39 AM Thread Starter
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Underbite....needs lower canines removed

So my beautiful Luna has an underbite. It's not severe, it's not minor. A couple of months ago she presented with the most awful breath you can imagine. Not only was it bad breath, but if she licked you the smell would stay on your skin. The vet found a hole in her upper jaw that her lower canine tooth was creating because of the underbite, and in the hole was filled with rotting fur, skin cells and anything else that was going in her mouth. Because she isn't even a year yet, my vet wanted to watch the growth progression of her jaw to see if perhaps her jaw would grow enough that this would self-resolve. Unfortunately 2 months later there is no change and the hole is still there. My vet delivered the bad news that her lower canines will need to be removed. My heart sank. I know she doesn't need them to survive, and my unhappiness is purely based on the aesthetics of a German Shepherd without lower canines, but it still disheartens me a lot.

My vet also told me that an underbite is a genetic thing. And not a recessive gene. It's a dominant gene which means one of her parents had it. So do I tell the breeder?

Has anybody else had this experience? How did it go for you? I did meet with a dental vet to discuss shaving the teeth down to at least keep something in her mouth, but the price of 2 root canals just for aesthetic reasons is WAY out of my budget.

Would love any info on underbites, canine tooth removal, or the genetics of this kind of issue that you might want to share.

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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 09:57 AM
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Poor Luna

My puppy had an underbite, and my vet advised me that this could happen to my puppy too. What he had suggested was some type of brace to shift the teeth. Fortunately when my puppy went in for his 16 week checkup his teeth were, if not normal, at least adequate. Was this brace thing mentioned to you? I don't know exactly what it is, since I was lucky and the teeth shifted on their own.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 10:16 AM
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I would get to a veterinary dentist. Those lower canines are part of the support structure for the lower jaw so if something has to be done to remove them I would assume cutting them down and doing a root canal would make more sense.

I had a similar experience but I caught it before the roof ot the mouth had been penetrated and the vet dentist fixed the problem with braces. It was a formed hard plastic brace she made in place and the dog tolerated it very well.

Anyway you look I would save up some money . Ask the vet if he removes them what he would do to make sure he did not break/weaken the lower jaw.




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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 11:18 AM
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one problem with removing the lower canines is the tongue will hang outside her lips. There will be nothing to keep it in her mouth, so you will be having to watch to make sure her tongue doesn't dry out..
I have seen some pretty severe underbites and the dogs have done okay.
Please don't do anything until an K-9 vet sees her... he might come up with some other solutions.
As far as the brace and such, it is best to do it as a puppy when the teeth are manipulated easily.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-11-2012, 11:54 AM
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I would also go to a specialist, it's unfortuneate you vet didn't notice the problem on earlier vists because there are other options and surgeries that can be done that are NOT removing the canines.

Do a search on this site because this IS a genetic issue and others have been dealing with it.


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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 07:13 PM
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I noticed an overbite in my bear when he was about 5 months. I took him to a specialist and he suggested the double root canal, but by the time we got around to the procedure at 7 months(ish), his teeth had mostly corrected and the vet just excised some of his gum because his one canine needed room to move outward. Now, at 15 months, he still has the overbite, but his lower canines have pushed his uppers back, and his bite is fine (well it's not perfect, but his teeth are digging into his palate anymore).

Ol's overbite was pretty bad at 5 months--his lower canines were basically right in line with the uppers--but they moved pretty substantially. With your pup being over a year, I don't know how much they would move, but I would at least look into braces. It also depends on how badly she's perforated her upper palate though-I think if it goes on for too long they can do some real damage.

Good luck!

(link to ollie's bite crisis: 5 m old Ollie's overbite--I need advice!! (canine into upper palate))
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-12-2012, 09:30 PM
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Can't you make a financial deal with your breeder?
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 01:00 PM
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The vet discovered Maverick's overbite when she went in to be spayed. She had two "holes" in the roof of her mouth. We felt awful, we never noticed and she never showed any signs of discomfort. The vet recommended removing the canines while "she was still under." I declined, picked her up and never went back there. We visited the specialist and had braces put on her teeth for a month to move them "outward." It worked like a charm. She looked like Beast from Beauty and the Beast, she couldn't have any bones, only soft toys (which she could destroy in 2 minutes) and her food needed to be softened. (she was on kibble at the time) It was the looooooooooooongest 4 weeks, but well worth it, no doubt. Expensive? Absolutely. Again, well worth it. The braces are the least invasive method, I highly recommend them, along with letting the jaw grow and possibly correcting itself as your pup matures.

Last edited by cci058; 09-15-2012 at 01:03 PM.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 09-15-2012, 02:02 PM
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That seems pretty extreme. I would get a second opinion from a specialist, definitely.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 12-29-2013, 09:32 AM
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This is so helpful. I have a 5.5 mo old male, and right now his lower canine is lined up exactly with his upper. The lower teeth are not mature enough yet to penetrate the upper palate, but I'm very concerned for the future. His lower jaw is about 1/4 inch(?) shorter than his upper and seems a bit narrow to me. I've been looking up canine veterinary dentists in the mid-VA area, and there seem to be three.

Is there a way to mark and retain a post? I'd like to keep yours but have no idea how to do so. Thanks for your help.
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