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Small Animal Clinic
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon SK S7N 5B4
Telephone: (306) 966-7126

Why does your Pet need an Orthodontic Appliance?

The term orthodontic comes from the Greek words Aortho@ meaning correct or
straight and Aodon@ meaning tooth. Thus, orthodontics is the area of dentistry
concerned with the alignment of the mature dentition. Orthodontics deals with the
movement of teeth, relationship of the jaws and teeth and related malformations.
Each orthodontic situation is unique and your pet requires an orthodontic appliance
so that his jaw or teeth may function normally and pain free. The appliance simply
may be to move a tooth so that other teeth may grow in properly or so that the jaw
may open and close properly.
We believe that every animal is entitled to a comfortable bite, not a PERFECT bite.
Unlike human dentistry, installing an incline plane device has moral, ethical and
legal ramifications. Here at the Small Animal Clinic we will install an orthodontic
appliance if it eases pain or discomfort for your pet, not simply for an award-winning
smile. Various dog and cat show regulations state that any animal that has had its
heritable anatomy altered is subject to disqualification from the show. Please do not
ask us to be an accomplice to fraud as we will not be a party to deception. Thank
What does an Orthodontic Incline Plane or Fixed Appliance Involve?
Prior to any dental work, your pet will be put under a general anesthetic. Anesthetic
is used because it is less stressful for your pet; he will not experience any pain or
discomfort, and it is safer for both your pet and the veterinarian. The anesthetics
used at the Small Animal Clinic are Isoflurane and Sevoflurane as they have been
tested to be two of the safest anesthetics in veterinary medicine. As a concern for
your pet=s safety, a full physical exam and pre-surgical blood work will be done.
Pre-surgical blood work is recommended as it may alert us to whether it is safe to
put your pet under general anesthesia or any precautions we may need to take. It
also allows us to customize the anesthetic protocol to your pet=s needs allowing for
easier, smoother and safer induction, maintenance and recovery for your pet.
Before the appliance can be fitted to your pet=s mouth, the teeth must first be
cleaned. This is done to eliminate any bacteria that may become trapped beneath
the appliance, therefore, decreasing the possibility of an infection beginning. Almost
all incline plane appliances used are made of acrylic or cast metal. Your pet=s
situation will dictate the size and placement of the appliance. When acrylic
appliances are formed directly in the mouth, the teeth are first etched with a dental
O:Word/HR Forms/Dental Incline Plane Orthodontics.doc

solution so the acrylic can bind directly to the teeth. Once the appliance is in place,
the veterinarian may then file and smooth the appliance to the desired shape.
Incline plane appliances have no active movement device (elastics or wires) but rely
on the contact of opposing teeth as well as the muscles of mastication to stimulate
tooth movement. Thus, the animal controls how much pressure to put on the
appliance and chewing does not result in pain.

O:Word/HR Forms/Dental Incline Plane Orthodontics.doc

Small Animal Clinic
Veterinary Teaching Hospital
Western College of Veterinary Medicine
52 Campus Drive
Saskatoon SK S7N 5B4
Telephone: (306) 966-7126

Home Care after Incline Plane Appliance Application

If these home care instructions are followed carefully, your pet should have a
speedy and successful treatment.
1. During the entire time the appliance is in place, do not allow your pet to chew
anything hard as the appliance may chip or break.
2. Feed your pet soft food the entire time the appliance is in place. If you normally
feed your pet hard food, simply soak the food in warm water until soft. This is
again to ensure that the appliance remains in good condition.
3. Follow all oral hygiene instructions given such as brushing and rinsing daily. It is
very important to keep the appliance as clean as possible. If food is allowed to
build up beneath the appliance, it could cause further complications such as
infection or irritation in your pet=s mouth.
4. Visit your veterinarian on the scheduled visits so that any adjustments may be
made to the appliance, which is necessary for changing the positions of the
5. If your pet has been given an Elizabethan collar, leave the collar on at all times
except when feeding or when you are keeping a watchful eye on your pet. This
is to prevent your pet from removing the appliance on his own.
6. Give all medications according to their labels or according to oral instructions
that you have received.
7. After the appliance has been removed, visit your veterinarian approximately 10
days later so that your pet=s mouth can be reevaluated. In addition, we will go
over long-term oral care and create a customized home care regime to fit your
and your pet=s needs to prevent further dental work.
If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at the Small Animal Clinic at
(306) 966-7126.
O:Word/HR Forms/Dental Incline Plane Orthodontics.doc