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"Daisy" - Airedale Terrier with Malocclusion

The incidence and severity of dental disease increases with age, however some very young patients can be quite drastically affected by a number of developmental problems.

Malocclusion (abnormal interlocking of the upper and lower teeth) is a very common finding and can involve a variety of discrepancies in relation to the length of the upper jaw (maxilla) to the lower jaw (mandible).

Where the maxilla is relatively short in relation to the mandible, this can in certain breeds (e.g.. Boxer, Shih Tzu) be encouraged as the "breed standard"! Fortunately, in most cases these "abnormalities" do not appear to adversely affect the patient.

Daisy's jaws however were actually both of the correct length. Her problem was that the lower jaw was very narrow and the large canine tooth was positioned at an abnormal angle resulting in this tooth traumatising the upper hard palate. Were this left untreated it would continue to cause considerable pain and discomfort and would eventually penetrate the nasal passage.

It was only when "Daisy" came in for her routine "spaying" procedure that one of my eagle eyed nursing staff, Tracey Clarke, who has advanced qualifications in dentistry spotted the deep ulcer that was developing in "Daisy's" upper hard palate.Further discussions with Daisy's owners did in fact reveal that she had started to struggle with harder foods.

The treatment was straight forward enough: remove the offending tooth and the cause of pain and discomfort disappears. The extraction of these teeth however is never an easy task as the tooth is fundamentally healthy and very securely attached. Consequently, it requires a considerable degree of effort and patience.

Fortunately the hard work has paid off and Daisy can get back to doing what dogs enjoy most "having a good chew!"


Terry Dunne BVMS, Cert SAO, MRCVS

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