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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi All,

My Mojo is a 5 month old GSD. He has an overbite. After going over my concern with the breeder, she suggested that in a prior litter with the same sire/dam that she was aware of a potential overbite in one pup, but that it had miraculously corrected itself by 9 months (and apparently the vet of that dog was made to eat his words, as he believed it would not correct itself).

After seeing one specialist about Mojo, and another for a second opinion, both are of the opinion that this will not correct itself. The specialist we decided to work with is of the "watch and wait" mentality. He is not optimistic that it will correct, but doesn't see a problem in letting me wait it out to see if that lower jaw catches up. Apparently if the lower jaw is in front of the bump on the roof of the mouth (sorry, cannot recall technical term) the likelihood of correction is good, if behind the bump correction is very slim (Mojo is behind the bump). His plan, should it not correct, is to pull his top two ADULT canines to make room for the bottom adult canines (and follow up with ball therapy 45 min/day to get those bottom canines to splay).

With that said, today when I was poking around in Mojo's mouth, I noticed that one of his his lower adult canines (about 1/2 emerged...still teething...has one baby canine remaining to lose) is poking a pretty nice hole in the roof of his mouth. Now, I'm all about watch and wait, but is this causing him pain? Should I be concerned about potential infection? I really hate to see him lose those top adult canines....I recognize its an aesthetic factor and that ultimately I just want the best care for him....but still...

I've attached a few pictures. The gap is not large enough for me to stick my pinkie finger in. The last picture I've indicated with a red arrow the puncture to the roof of his mouth.

If anyone has any guidance, experience, thoughts, please do share. I emailed these same images to the dental specialist today but haven't heard back yet.

Thanks,
Andrea
 

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Poor little dude!
I would encourage him to chew on some fresh knucklebones if he would(probably in pain though) it may help move the teeth and get that puppy tooth out. I hope the specialist can do the least invasive procedures to get his alignment situated. I have a dog that I adopted at 21 mos. Her alignment is horrid and I wish I'd had her at a younger age so she could have had some help...she has a severe underbite.
 

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My last boy had a similar indentation in the roof of his mouth around 5-6 months and he outgrew it and then his bite looked fine for the rest of his life! :) The hole/dent did not get any worse- did not perforate or bleed.

Someone once told me that German Shepherd puppies' upper jaws grow faster than the lower ones do.
 

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I did do braces in a GSD years ago (Toby) because of such a misalignment resulting in the roof of the mouth being nearly penetrated. We did not, however, have the issue with the lower jaw being short . My issue was related to a lower retained canine pushing the tooth over. The braces made of some plastic the vet molded and other than a soft diet, did not bother the dog one bit.

I would spend the money now to get that retained canine removed; if it has not come out now and is not brown that root is probably still intact and just yanking it out could be dicy and leave fragments behind etc.

I would definitely ONLY let a board certified veterinary dentist touch the canines -Removing the upper canines can be challenging but the lower ones are significant in that the roots are part of the jaw structure and removing those weakens the lower jaw. It is not going to be cheap, I am afraid.

I think there was someone else on the board who actually had a tooth penetrate the palate. You definitely don't want to let that happen so I would be watching every day.
 

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I agree with Jocoyn, the puppy canine needs to be removed as quickly as possible. Its just another issue in his mouth preventing proper alignment.
This many or many not correct to be honest. I have seen some that have and some that haven't. I sold a puppy, a gorgeous 6 month old show prospect with a bite this severe. I had kept him that long, hoping it would fix itself... I sold him, the owners neutered him and at about a year old I saw him again. Yep, you guessed it, his bite had corrected and his mouth/teeth were beautiful.
The lower jaw on all dogs is the "growing" jaw, not just GSD. That is why overbites can correct themselves, without too much intervention. Underbites, where the bottom jaw is longer than top is the real problem that just gets worse
If you decide to have canines removed, don't let them remove bottom canines, although I see your vet recommended the top ones. The bottom ones hold in the tongue and without the bottom canines, the tongue will usually hang out the side of the mouth.
 

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I had a Malinois in the past whose teeth looked like that at the same age and she outgrew it and had a beautiful bite in the end. It is nerve wrecking in the meantime. But yes, get that puppy teeth out asap.
 

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If it were me, I would get the retained canine removed and then wait a little longer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you for your replies. His last baby canine (on top near the puncture area) is wiggly. If it follows the same course as his other baby teeth, it should be out in the next couple days. At what point should I worry about that lower adult canine that is hitting the roof? I've still not received an email response from the specialist, but I have a feeling he's going to tell me to make a decision soon once he sees the palate puncture. I read so many success stories on here about overbites correcting themselves, I want to believe Mojo will correct as well...but I don't want to damage his mouth or cause him any pain while we wait it out. Rock and hard place. Ugh.
 

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Wouldn't it be possible to fasten a protective plate over the area that he may puncture to wait out natural correction? I am sure in human dentistry this is done.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The dental specialist got back with me yesterday. His response:

Unfortunately it is a work in progress. Long term the palatal trauma will be a problem. Short term - one to two months, not a problem. Lots of tug of war and "ball therapy."
Send me some images in two weeks and let me see any changes.

So we will continue with the waiting game and continue doing the hopeful dance that it fixes itself.
 

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MIShep, thanks for the information and photos of your Mojo's overbite. I have a 5.5 mo old male GSD whose mouth looks just like Mojo's did at the same age: lower canine right in line with upper. Fortunately, all the baby canines are successfully out, and I don't see any upper palate puncturing so far. My trainer says that lower jaws continue to grow and that all may resolve itself. But, I'm concerned. Do you mind telling me how things worked out with Mojo and what else, if anything, you had to do? Many thanks for whatever help you can lend!
 

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Hi Lynn,

Mojo's alignment, believe it or not, corrected on its own. Crazy dog had us worried (for months).

We had two specialists tell us that it wouldn't correct, that because of the severity he'd either have to have an appliance put in to force correction or have his adult canines removed to force splaying of the lower canines. We did not want to go the appliance route because of his high drive and need for training (he only responds to a tennis ball for training and there was no ball play allowed while the appliance was in...for up to six months...a no go for us). Not to mention that the appliance route was multiple procedures - I just wasn't prepared to put my guy under anesthesia multiple times. One of the specialists tried to push us on the appliance. The other was willing to do a wait and see method. We waited. Went every 4 weeks for check ups and measurements. And finally, he said we didn't have to come back anymore until Mojo was 2 and needed a dental clean. So shocked. His mouth was in bad shape initially and I was convinced it was not going to correct.

Thankful it worked out for us and we were able to make the specialists eat crow :) They were both happy to do so.

Best of luck to you and your guy. Both specialists said that there are three portions to the jaw - the back bone, the center bone and the front of the jaw. The center bone is pretty much set - won't move. Its the back bone of the jaw that needs to catch up. Our Mojo has a HUGE head and it just took some time I think for his jaw bones to get the memo. If you have any questions about our journey, I'd be happy to answer. My suggestion is to find someone that is willing to take the wait and see approach with your furry guy - go monthly for measurements and keep an eye on the roof of the mouth.

Best,
Andrea
 

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Andrea, this is hugely helpful! I have scoured the web, as no doubt, you had as well. I never saw anything at all about the three portions of the jaw; so good to get indepth information. I think that it may also have been you who said something about the lower jaw being "in front of the bump" or "behind the bump", and Trappe's appears to be in front of the bump, which I assume is encouraging. Do you mind telling me to which specialists you went? Perhaps your "wait and see" doctor could recommend a doctor in my area of VA with a similar approach. Even from the web I can see radically different initial approaches, including even removal of the lower canines, which sounds akin to a death sentence. Scary that there are such different approaches. I am assuredly of the wait and watch camp, but I do want to be prepared, should he require an appliance or other intervention (NOT to include removal of lower canines!!).

At what age did the doctor tell you that you didn't have to return until Mojo was 2? How long did his bite continue to change? You've surely made my holidays with your reply and information (I'm also reading about getting ears to come up...nothing is easy! Trappe, too, has a big head and heavy ears. He's West German and a big-boned guy. He weighed in at 66 yesterday, and he's slender at that weight). Whew...nothing is ever easy, is it?? Wish I knew how to attach a photo for you.

Thank you, thank you...and happy New Year!!
 

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Hi Lynn,

Mojo corrected himself permanently at about 11.5 months and now has a perfect bite (so if you are wanting to show Trappe, there is hope). The vet suggested that the head stops growing at approximately one year, so if the overbite (malocclusion is official term) had not corrected by that time his next move would have been to pull his upper canines. Ultimately, it was a cosmetic concern as they use their lower canines for scooping food, etc.

I'm going to try to attach an article the vet gave me when we were going through this. Its about ball therapy. Tennis balls are generally a no-no because they wear the teeth down, but its what works for our dog. I made this contraption for him as a "jackpot" training reward, then we'd tug it for his reward in training - two birds, one stone - he was rewarded in training, and I was working on splaying his teeth. Vet suggested 20 min of ball therapy 2x day to get his teeth to splay properly. Hopefully the article will attach, as well as the photo of the contraption toy I put together.

As for the specialist - we went to Dr. Ben Colmery in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His website is:
Vetdentistry I am certain he would be able to help you with a referral. In fact, if you can get a few good photos of Trappes bite, he may be able to help you with an online consult until you can find someone local.

Mojo has a huge head and huge ears as well...thick and heavy ears....I still don't think he's grown into his satellite dishes :) We never thought his ears would stay up either. Will put some photos at the bottom for you - one from summer and one from last week, as well as one of my favorites with the one ear up and one down...his darn left ear was just dreadful. He was 78 lbs a few weeks ago....I think most of the weight is in his noggin!

I know how difficult it is to be patient. Particularly since we were in the same ear/mouth boat as you....It is very tough to wait and see! I'd love to see your dear Trappe. If you go to "quick reply" then click "advanced", it should bring you to a new screen with a kitchen sink of options - there is a paperclip button - click that and you should be able to upload photos.
 

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I'm just seeing this, Andrea! I'm very ignorant of this process and was watching email rather than the thread! Thanks so very much for all! Mojo is adorable, and I love the photo of the one ear up and one down. What a very handsome guy he is...and with enormously kind eyes. When was he born?

I'll figure out how to send some photos of Trappe, too. Will wade into all of this information now! SO helpful! Trappe's birthday is July 13th of 2013. And what a big goofball he is!
 

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David, many thanks for the link and the photos. My trainer has also told me that his jaw is very likely to continue to grow. Thank goodness we don't appear to have any missing teeth. Boy, some dog owners have BIG problems! Happy New Year!
 

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I also ordered every Kong toy known to man which might replicate the ball therapy shown in the orthodontic article (I, too, had found that and am ON it!). All Kong toys are due to arrive on Monday! Seeing the photo of your pull toy is very helpful. Did Mojo not object to the knot at the base of the ball being, I assume, in his mouth? I'll come up with some photos and send them along. I'll also attach one of Trappe at four months exactly with "bat ears" then up (now back down) and with my son taken in mid-October. At least, I think that I have attached them.
 

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Mine was almost identical to that at the same age. I was ready to make a three hour trip to a canine dental specialist. My vet suggested I hold off and at a year you can't tell any issues at all, everything corrected itself. We do a lot of tug but not to fix her teeth she just is a tug crazy dog. I was going crazy for a while there worrying about it.
 
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