Most kittens nibble, bite and chew on objects in their new forever homes. Pet parents may wonder why their new kitties want to gnaw on everything in sight, including their fingers and toes. These are signs your young cat is teething. Today, you’ll learn six things about your new kitten’s teeth.
You should also bring your new kitten in for its vaccinations and annual checkup at Tipp City Veterinary Hospital.
1. Your Kitten Will Have Two Sets of Teeth During its Lifetime
Cats grow two sets of teeth during their lifetime just like human beings. Kittens are born without any teeth which allows them to nurse without injuring their mothers. At three weeks old, their deciduous teeth start emerging from their gums. They are also called milk, baby, or kitten teeth. These temporary teeth will drop out and later be replaced by adult ones.
Kittens develop a total of 26 baby teeth that rapidly emerge. First, small, translucent teeth named incisors appear at the front of their mouths. Two weeks later, the fangs grow in. Around six months old, their premolars show up.
Young cats baby teeth are sharp and can hurt their nursing mothers. At this stage, pet parents should wean kittens off of nursing and give them solid food. Foster parents of younger cats should stop bottle-feeding kittens once their deciduous teeth appear.
2. Kittens Develop Thirty Permanent Teeth
Many kittens begin losing their baby teeth during around 3 1/2 to four months old. They develop tooth buds in their upper and lower jaws when their permanent ones develop. The adult teeth press against the baby ones. They stimulate the kitten’s body to reabsorb the deciduous roots which weaken and disappear. The adult crowns cut through the gums and push the milk teeth out.
Felines have 30 permanent teeth by 6-7 months old. The following schedule shows when your kitty should receive all 30 teeth.
- Their first adult teeth will appear around 11 weeks old.
- The permanent incisors begin to show around four months.
- Your kitten’s canine teeth grow in around five months old.
- Around six months, your cat will receive its premolars.
- The permanent molars arrive by adulthood.
3. Young Cats Experience Teething Process Like Human Babies
The majority of kitten teething issues occur when cats begin receiving their permanent teeth. Most young felines don’t have problems during the process since their baby ones fall out painlessly. Some swallow their deciduous teeth when they’re eating a meal. Others lose them while playing. Pet parents may find their kitten’s hollowed-out teeth on carpeting in their homes.
Other kittens will experience problems when their permanent teeth emerge. They may drool when they begin teething. Kittens will meow more during this time because their gum line feels sore and swollen. Some kitties who enjoy grabbing things with their mouths can stop picking up their favorite toys when they have tender gums. A few may have a difficult time chewing on their food.
Here are signs your cat is experiencing teething issues:
- Eating Less Food – Slow chewing can be a sign your kitten has sore gums and has begun teething.
- Excessive Chewing – Young cats may gnaw furniture, bedding, and toys when they begin teething.
- Bad Breath – Some kittens develop gingivitis when their adult teeth emerge. This condition leads to bad breath.
- Drooling – Felines drool when they start teething.
- Pawing – Small kittens paw at their mouth when their hurt.
- Bleeding Gums – Your pet’s gums can ooze blood when their adult teeth start emerging.
These issues can also be symptoms of other dental conditions, so have your cat examined by one of veterinary staff at Tipp City Veterinary Hospital.
4. Pet Parents Can Help Kittens During the Teething Process
Here are a few tips to help ease your kitten through the teething process.
- Feed Your Cat Soft Foods – These meals won’t irritate your kitten’s sore gums.
- Don’t Play Mouth-Related Games – Avoid games, like catching toy mice, where your cat has to use its mouth.
- Reduce Tooth Brushing During Teething – Don’t brush its teeth or gums when it’s teething since it can be hurt them.
- Take Away Dangerous Items Cats May Chew On – Remove any objects that can be hazardous to your cat like electric cords, toxic plants, and sharp items. Your cats can chew these during the teething process and harm themselves.
- Hand Your Kitten Bite a Chew Toy – Provide them with appropriate toys to chew on that will help them get work off their high energy. Pet parents should purchase soft toys made from rubber and plastic to help your kittens through the teething process. When your kitten experiences discomfort. Give them the toys twice a day for 10 to 15-minute sessions.
- Don’t Allow Your Kitten to Bite Your Hands – Never Allow Your Kitten to play with your hands in its mouth. Be sure to give a high-pitched “Ow” when your cat plays too rough.
- Give Your Kitten a Binkie – Binkies are appropriate toys for kitten teething. They’re made from cloth and can be chilled to ease tender gums and will allow your cat to work its jaw muscles.
5. Retained Deciduous Teeth Can Cause Permanent Dental Issues
Some cats don’t fully reabsorb their baby teeth roots. Veterinarians call these retained teeth: they occupy spaces meant for permanent ones. These teeth cause permanent ones to erupt at odd angles. Additionally, they lead to dental-related issues like teeth crowding, malocclusions, and abnormal bites.
When permanent and baby ones occupy the same socket, food and debris may get trapped between the teeth. This crowding can cause other issues like gingivitis, tartar deposits, and periodontitis. It causes kittens to lose their teeth prematurely since teeth roots can become infected.
Malpositioned teeth cause dental interlock. This issue interferes with the jaw’s development. These problems make it difficult for your pet to eat.
Unless your kitten’s baby tooth is loose, extraction it the best choice to remove your cat’s baby teeth. It is unlikely that your cat’s malocclusion problems will get into the proper position without orthodontic treatment.
Make an appointment with a veterinarian at the Tipp City Veterinary Hospital. We’ll extract your cat’s baby teeth to make sure the adult ones can appear in their proper place. Tooth extractions only require general anesthesia. Our veterinarians will avoid tooth roots during the operation.
6. Your Cat Needs Dental Care Throughout Its Life
Once your cat’s permanent teeth come in, you’ll need to give it proper dental hygiene. These tips will help pet owners manage their cat’s dental care.
- Pay Attention to Drooling – It’s normal for your cat’s breath to have a mild, fishy smell. Your cat could have dental problems if their breath smells foul. Drooling can also be a sign of gum disease and tooth decay.
- Give Your Kitty a Yearly Checkup – Dental checkups are essential to keep your cat’s teeth healthy. Stop by the Tipp City Veterinary Hospital to schedule your cat’s annual examination. We’ll check for any dental issues. We’ll tell you if they’ll need a tooth extraction.
- Start a Cleaning Schedule – The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends that pet owners should start cleaning their kitten’s teeth while they are young. Use a finger cot or gauze along with special toothpaste or cats.
- Brush Your Cat’s Teeth – Don’t try to brush your cat’s teeth with human toothpaste, because they can ingest the fluoride in it. This chemical can make your cat seriously ill. Instead, use one made for cats in flavors they’ll love. Cradle your cat from behind, cup the chin, and clean its teeth using gauze or a specialty cat toothbrush.
- Massage your Pet’s Gums – These massages will improve your cat’s oral health.
About Tipp City Veterinary Hospital
Our veterinarians will ensure your growing kitten has the best dental care possible. We’ll check your cat’s mouth to see if it has any dental issues. You can contact us to schedule an annual examination today.