Gingivoplasty

For some patients suffering from linguoverted mandibular canine teeth (base narrow canines), an option for treatment can be a gingivoplasty or ‘gingival wedge’ procedure. This procedure when timed and performed correctly can guide the erupting mandibular canine teeth into a more correct position, avoiding a traumatic occlusion and the long-term issues that follow. 

The procedure is generally performed in dogs that have a Class 1 Malocclusion (incorrectly positioned tooth not a jaw length concern). The reason being is that the lower canines are relatively easier to guide into a more labial position (lateral or “outwards”) compared to moving them either forward or backward. Patients with very mild Class 2 or Class 3 Malocclusion (underbite or overbite) may also be candidates for this treatment.  

This procedure has specific timing requirements. It is most effective when performed whilst the mandibular canine teeth are actively erupting. If performed after eruption is completed, the canine teeth are much more firmly “anchored” in the jaw and tend not to move as well. If performed too early the specific shape of the gingivoplasty cannot be estimated, and the surgical site will often heal back into its original shape before the tips of the canines come into contact with the area. 

The surgery itself requires removal and reshaping (-plasty) of some gum tissue (gingiva) between the maxillary canine tooth and the maxillary third incisor. When performed correctly, it creates a ramp which aids in guiding the erupting mandibular canine teeth into a more appropriate position. 

A gingivoplasty procedure is very often used in conjunction with Ball therapy, and is considered an interceptive orthodontic procedure. If successful, this procedure will save you and your pup going through more involved treatment options. If your pet is not a candidate for this procedure or it isn’t successful there are many alternative treatment options to manage these malocclusions.  

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