It is not normal for adult cats to lose teeth. Cats have their full set of permanent teeth before they reach 1 year of age, but many cats start to show signs of dental disease as early as age 3 if their teeth aren’t properly cared for during their early life. Tooth loss is often a sign of advanced dental disease, and the cat needs to be seen by a vet as soon as possible to prevent further tooth loss. Dental care is just as important for cats as it is for humans with many veterinarians encouraging proper teeth brushing to prevent dental diseases in our furry feline friends.
What Is Dental Disease?
Dental disease is a common issue in felines over the age of 3, but it can be addressed by your vet if you catch it in time. Like humans, plaque builds on the surface of your cat’s teeth, leading to tartar buildup. This buildup leads to gingivitis, a reddening inflammation of the gums, which combined with the tartar buildup, helps to separate the teeth from the gums. When periodontal disease reaches this stage, it is irreversible, and there is usually widespread infection in the gums and teeth, bone loss, and tissue destruction, all of which allow your cat’s teeth to start falling out.
Prevention Of Dental Disease
Veterinarians encourage brushing your cats’ teeth with pet toothpaste to prevent gingivitis and tooth loss. It may take some time to train your cat to accept a daily tooth brushing, but many cats learn to accept it when they are rewarded for cooperating with the brushing. If your cat won’t accept having its teeth brushed, your vet can prescribe a special prescription dental diet. Greenies and Purina DentaLife are just some of the dental treats on the market you can give your cat to help keep its teeth healthy.
Treatment Of Dental Disease
If your adult cat has lost a tooth, it is important to make an appointment with your vet right away. The vet will perform an exam to check for inflamed gums. If your cat is showing signs of gingivitis, they will recommend a professional cleaning and polishing done under anesthesia at their office. The vet may also take x-rays to determine the severity of any bone loss around the tooth. They may recommend removing additional teeth if the issue is widespread. After treatment, your cat’s teeth will need daily brushing to prevent further plaque buildup. Your vet may also recommend additional steps, such as a prescription diet, or the application of fluoride to your cat’s teeth.
A Note About Kitten Tooth Loss
Starting around 4 to 7 months of age, kittens start losing their baby teeth. Kittens typically lose these teeth while playing or during mealtime and their human owners never notice the lost teeth around the house. Your kitten will replace them with their adult teeth quickly and they will have a full set of 30 teeth before their first birthday. If you do see your kitten’s teeth around the house, don’t be concerned as this is a normal stage of development. If their adult teeth don’t start coming in shortly after tooth loss, make an appointment with your vet to get your kitten checked out.
Tooth loss is not normal in adult cats and needs to be addressed immediately. Tooth loss is usually an indicator of advanced dental disease and the cat is likely experiencing pain in his mouth from its dental issues. Tooth loss can be prevented by brushing your cat’s teeth every day and providing it with dental treats to help fight plaque buildup. If your cat does have dental disease, the vet can perform a deep cleaning while your pet is under anesthesia and will assess your cat to determine the full extent of the damage. Prevention is the best step to help prevent tooth loss in cats, but that is not always possible depending on a cat’s origins. If your cat is experiencing dental disease, a qualified veterinarian can help address the issue, so it’s best to make an appointment right away.
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