Advanced Animal Dentistry

Inclined Plane

An inclined plane is an orthodontic device that may be placed to correct the position of traumatically positioned mandibular canine teeth. This procedure is most often applied to young dogs with linguoverted (base narrow) canine teeth, where these teeth are contacting and traumatising the roof of the mouth.  

An acrylic inclined plane has been placed in the top jaw of this dog. The plate is guiding the 304 into a less traumatic position.

Not every patient with linguoverted canine teeth is a candidate for an inclined plane. If your pet is a candidate, this treatment offers an excellent long-term solution. It has less requirement for extended follow-up than other treatments such as a crown height reduction and vital pulpotomy and is less invasive than extractions. Another advantage is that this procedure does not alter the size or shape of the teeth so maintains full form and function for your pet. When treatment is successful, your pup is back to normal. 

An inclined plane is generally created for your pup during a single anaesthetic. This involves creating an appliance from an acrylic material that is bonded to the canine and incisor teeth of the top jaw. Ramps are shaped into this acrylic material, and these ramps direct the mandibular canine teeth outwards when your pet closes its mouth. Over a period of weeks the mandibular canine teeth are tipped outwards into their correct position, no longer causing trauma to the roof of the mouth. Once the teeth are in a suitable position the appliance is removed during a short anaesthetic.

In almost all cases a retainer is not required unlike people that have had braces. This is due to the canine teeth locking into their correct position (canine interlock). This is a natural retainer. 

For the majority of patients we perform this procedure on, treatment is uneventful. The appliance is not indestructible, and care must be taken to avoid any rough mouth play whilst it is in place. This avoids the need for any repairs and associated additional cost.

On occasion the teeth may be tipped into an appropriate position but fail to be retained. They can be too short to lock into position. If this is a concern a crown extension may be required. This will be placed at the time of the inclined plane being removed.

When a patient has an inclined plane in place, they are more prone to plaque build-up. A higher level of homecare during the weeks the appliance is in place is recommended. This may involve gently brushing around the appliance and using a gel/rinse to reduce the number of plaque bacteria in the mouth that can make things a little smelly!

An inclined plane can be an excellent treatment choice for the right patient. Determining if this treatment is right for you and your pet is something that we can do following a thorough assessment and discussion of all available treatment options.