Dogs are just like people.
They can get cavities, plaque build-up, and gum disease.
If your dog has a missing tooth or teeth, dog dentures might be the solution for your furry friend’s dental woes.
But probably not.
Should dogs get dentures?
Let’s consider why humans get dentures or “false teeth.”
Largely due to ego, if we’re being absolutely honest.
Also, ensuring we can eat the foods we want to eat (corn on the cob with no front teeth is hard!).
What about dogs? Will doggy dentures help?
They don’t have egos and don’t care much about how they look. We’ve all had dogs that we are sure do care, but in actuality, they don’t. So your dog’s false teeth are not to make them feel better about themselves.
Do they need them to eat?
Not really, as they can eat soft or wet dog food just fine with missing teeth. You can find many examples of toothless dogs that are completely happy and healthy (and well-fed).
Also, we don’t really know if they are comfortable. Again, using us humans as an example, we wouldn’t wear our dentures if our dentures were uncomfortable.
Dogs have high pain thresholds, and we cannot always tell when they are uncomfortable. If they are ill-fitting and causing discomfort, we may not even know.
There is always the concern that the dog may swallow the false teeth.
And don’t forget, dogs use those teeth to chew on chew toys, so doggie dentures need to be made to withstand enormous bite pressures without becoming loose in the dog’s mouth.
Lastly, dentures need to be cleaned regularly, which will become a hassle. Improper cleaning will lead to even more problems down the road.
So do dogs need dentures? Should they get them?
In almost all cases, no.
I would say dog dentures are more for the owner than the dog.
A dog is “almost human” and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such. -John Holmes
So, all in all, my thought is that dentures for dogs aren’t a huge need or value. I’d recommend spending your money elsewhere – a nice dog house or maybe that wireless fence you’ve been thinking about. Ask your dog if he or she wants dentures or a new chew toy, and after a healthy bit of side-eye and scoffing, I can guarantee your dog will opt for the chew toy. Every time.
If your dog’s tooth problem is real and severe, you may want to consider tooth implants instead of dentures.
Despite how I feel about them, doggie dentures are a thing some owners opt for, so we’ll dive into doggie dentures a bit more below.
Can dogs regrow lost teeth?
We should get this one out of the way quickly, as it is asked quite a bit.
The answer is no; dogs cannot regrow a lost tooth.
Sharks, yes. Fido, no.
How many dogs have dentures?
Statistically, not many.
I can say that because I’ve been unable to find any credible source of information that shares a number or a range.
It’s just not that common, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a veterinarian that supports the decision to have your dog get dentures.
There’s a hint.
Avoiding the need for doggie dentures
Ok, so they are a bad idea. Let’s take steps to ensure Fido doesn’t need them.
The best approach to avoiding the need for dentures down the road is to ensure good canine dental health for your dog. There are a few considerations:
- Dogs can get cavities, plaque build-up, and gum disease. Dogs are susceptible to tooth decay just like humans, as they do not produce strong enough saliva to keep their teeth clean.
- You’ll read that you should brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Every couple of days, maybe once per week. Maybe every two weeks. I know of very few people, myself included, that adhere to any kind of schedule like this. It just doesn’t happen. Even vets I talk to don’t. You can buy dog-friendly toothpaste just about anywhere. I suspect it tastes like bacon or old shoes, so is tasty for dogs.
- Good kibble dog food and chew toys help.
- Importantly, your dog should have its teeth cleaned professionally at least annually (our schedule) or even more often if you can get around to it. Every six months is not too often, but, again, this will depend on the other things you do to ensure good dental health and clean teeth.
Healthy teeth and gums
- Help ensure good dental health by giving your dog good food and the right chew toys. The wrong chew toys can lead to fractured or chipped teeth that may require professional treatment.
- Dogs with 100% soft food diets tend to have more teeth problems than dogs that need to crunch through their food. It’s nice to treat your dog to soft food, even baby them a little, but soft food should not make up 100% of what your dog eats.
- Along the same lines, human food is often detrimental to good canine dental health. Overall health, too – we recommend not feeding your dog human food.
- Dental treats are a great addition to your dog’s food and chew toy landscape.
- Likewise, Dental chew sticks will help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy. We always have bags of these lying around, and I believe they ensure our dog’s teeth and gums remain healthy.
Regular professional check-ups
Many professionals recommend teeth cleaning on a regular basis – every six months is pretty common – but I find annually works well for us due to the other precautions we take.
What about pet dental implants?
Dog dentures and dog teeth implants are not the same thing. Dentures are used to fill in places where missing teeth have left gaps, whereas dog teeth implants can be used when there are no teeth or when a dog’s teeth have been knocked or pulled out.
Dentures can be put in and taken out while implants are there to stay.
Pet dental implants are often anchored with titanium posts surgically installed into the dog’s jaw and fixed in place with a resin post cement. The implant is surrounded by bone, providing both support and stability for the dog’s mouth. Of course, this applies to dogs and cats alike.
Although dental implants have a long history of success with humans, that’s not the case with our beloved pooches. There are far fewer case studies, and, as with dentures, our dogs can’t really tell us how the implants are working.
There have been only a few studies done on this, so there are not a lot of statistics to go with.
In the Journal of American Veterinary Medical Association, an article contains the following statement:
To our knowledge, there are no available peer-reviewed scientiﬁc studies demonstrating that dental implants in dogs and cats would be medically beneﬁcial or necessary to maintain an excellent quality of life in animals with missing teeth— The case against the use of dental implants in dogs and cats
The above article is lengthy and goes into detail on human implants and then pet implants. A major point they make is that the reasons for humans to have implants do not necessarily correlate to your dog needing implants.
An ancillary concern here is that dental implants require general anesthesia for your dog, and any time your dog goes under anesthesia, there is a risk.
You’ll want to research veterinary dentists for more information.
Conclusion – are dentures for dogs a good idea?
To sum this up, there are a few questions to consider:
- Will your dog feel better about himself because he has dentures?
- Will your dog eat better with dentures?
- Will your dog benefit from dog dentures?
Except in rare circumstances, the answer to all of the above questions is “no.”
Doggy dentures will not help your dog feel better about himself.
Your dog will most likely not eat better with dentures
Your dog will most likely not benefit from dentures, and, in fact, they may cause more harm than good.
In short, no, your dog does not need dog dentures.