Feline Baby Teeth

Introduction

Kittens have a deciduous (baby) set of teeth that are gradually shed during their growing phase. It is uncommon for owners to notice the teeth changing over since the process is gradual, and the teeth are small. Sometimes, a shed tooth can be found on a rug or floor, but unless the owner brushes the teeth daily, it is easy to miss the transition.

Signs of Tooth Shedding

Sometimes you will see a loose tooth sitting over top the new permanent tooth as it pushes up from underneath which can make it look "broken" if the baby tooth is dangling from the gum. If the immature teeth are not shed, this can cause displacement of the permanent teeth. This situation is more common in dogs, but in cats, is seen particularly in short-nosed breeds like the Persian.

Cats have a standard number of adult or permanent teeth: 30. The teeth usually finish turnover by 6 1/2 to 7 months of age. Incisors usually turn over between 2 1/2 and 4 months of age. Premolars usually change between 3 and 5 months. At about 5 to 6 months of age, the canines change over. Molars come in around 5 months of age—there are no baby molars. These shedding and adult eruption times are very approximate.

The adult teeth of the cat must last the remainder of the lifespan following maturity, so proper dental care is essential to protect them against caries (cavities) and periodontal disease. Your veterinarian can advise you regarding a home dental care program to keep them white and healthy through the years.


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