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Feline Dental Health: Understanding and Treating Malocclusion in Cats

Cats are fascinating creatures with unique dental anatomy. Their teeth, much like humans, go through a transition from baby teeth to adult teeth.

They have a total of 30 teeth, comprising six incisors, two canines, six premolars, and four molars on both sides of the mouth. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at malocclusion of teeth and overbite in cats, their symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment.

Malocclusion of Teeth in Cats

Malocclusion of teeth refers to a condition where the teeth of a cat do not meet in the correct way, causing problems with their bite. This condition affects cats of all ages, and the symptoms may vary depending on the underlying cause.

The common symptoms of malocclusion of teeth include mouth injuries, periodontal disease, soft-tissue defects, wear on teeth, fractures, overbite, underbite, level bite, open bite, anterior crossbite, posterior crossbite, wry mouth, and base narrow canines. Mouth injuries are a common cause of malocclusion of teeth in cats, where broken teeth or jawbones can alter the position of the teeth.

Periodontal disease can also cause malocclusion of teeth in cats, leading to the deterioration of the supporting structures that hold the teeth, resulting in teeth shifting. Soft-tissue defects such as palatal injuries can also cause malocclusion.

Wear on teeth can be caused by aggressive chewing or grinding, and over time, the teeth can lose their shape and alignment. Fractures can happen due to trauma to the mouth, resulting in the position of the teeth changing.

Several types of malocclusion can affect cats, including overbites, underbites, level bites, open bites, anterior crossbites, posterior crossbites, wry mouths, and base narrow canines. Overbites occur when the upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw, and a gap is created in the soft parts of the mouth.

This condition can cause dental pain, gum flap formation, difficulty eating, and possible infections. Underbites occur when the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw, resulting in the lower teeth sticking out in front of the upper teeth.

Level bites occur when the upper and lower teeth meet horizontally, resulting in the teeth not overlapping. Open bites are when the upper and lower teeth do not touch at all.

Anterior crossbites are when the upper canine teeth protrude over the lower canine teeth. Posterior crossbites occur when the lower jaw is narrower than the upper jaw, causing the lower tooth to be on the outside of the upper tooth when the mouth is closed.

Wry mouth is a condition where the lower jaw shifts to one side of the mouth. Base narrow canines occur when the lower canine teeth come in at an angle, resulting in a misaligned bite.

The causes of malocclusion in cats can be from a congenital or hereditary predilection, failure of teeth to erupt, trauma to the mouth, or retained baby teeth. Inherited traits that cause malocclusion are more common in purebred cats, while retained baby teeth often affect young cats that may require extraction.

Treatment for

Malocclusion of Teeth in Cats

Treatment for malocclusion of teeth in cats involves addressing the underlying cause. Extraction is a common treatment method for severely damaged teeth or retained baby teeth.

A dental specialist may need to be involved in complex cases, such as wry mouth, to realign the teeth surgically. Brushing with specialized cat toothpaste and diets with dental benefits can help prevent periodontal disease and malocclusion.

In severe cases, braces or orthodontic appliances may be necessary to correct the misaligned teeth and improve the cat’s ability to eat and drink comfortably.

Overbite in Cats

An overbite in cats occurs when the upper jaw extends farther than the lower jaw, creating a gap in the soft parts of the mouth. This condition can cause difficulties with eating, infections, and pain.

Overbites are often hereditary, and cats with a genetic predisposition should be bred carefully to prevent the condition from becoming more prevalent. Diagnosis of

Overbite in Cats

The diagnosis of an overbite in cats typically occurs when the cat’s permanent teeth come in at around ten months old.

A veterinarian will examine the cat’s teeth and mouth to determine the severity of the condition and discuss the possible treatment options. Treatment for

Overbite in Cats

Treatment for overbite in cats involves extracting teeth that may exacerbate the condition and limit more significant problems from developing.

A dental specialist may need to be involved to straighten the remaining teeth or use braces to align the jaw. Providing soft foods or preparing food that has been mashed or pureed can help ease the cat’s discomfort while the treatment is ongoing.

Conclusion

Malocclusion of teeth and overbite are common conditions that affect cats of all kinds. With proper dental care and regular checkups, most cases can be identified early and treated successfully.

If your cat is showing any signs of dental problems, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to get a diagnosis and treatment plan as soon as possible. With the right care, your cat can enjoy a healthy, pain-free dental future.

3) Underbite in Cats

An underbite in cats is a condition where the lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw, resulting in the lower teeth jutting out in front of the upper teeth. Underbite in cats is referred to as mandibular prognathism, and it can cause several issues, including an abnormal gait, difficulty chewing, and even respiratory problems.

Diagnosis of Underbite in Cats

An underbite in cats can be diagnosed when the permanent teeth emerge at around ten months old. A veterinarian will examine the cat’s teeth and mouth and determine the severity of the condition.

A cat with a severe underbite may have difficulty eating, and this may lead to weight loss.

Treatment for Underbite in Cats

Treatment for underbite in cats usually involves the extraction of teeth that may cause further issues. If the underbite is severe, a dental specialist may need to be involved to correct the alignment of the remaining teeth surgically.

Braces/orthodontic appliances might be necessary to straighten the teeth and reposition the lower jaw. In some cases, a cat will require both extractions and orthodontic treatment.

4) Level Bite in Cats

A level bite in cats is a term used to describe a dental condition where the upper and lower teeth meet evenly. It is considered a normal alignment of the teeth, and it is not a cause for concern or treatment.

Diagnosis of Level Bite in Cats

A level bite is the standard alignment for a cat’s teeth, and it can be diagnosed through a regular dental checkup or examination.

Treatment for Level Bite in Cats

No treatment is required for a level bite in cats. Regular dental checkups and maintenance are important to ensure healthy teeth free of periodontal disease, cavities, and other dental issues.

If the cat shows signs of any dental problems, it is essential to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible for an evaluation and treatment.

Conclusion

Various types of malocclusion of teeth affect cats, including overbite, underbite, and level bite. While overbite and underbite may require treatment, the level bite is considered normal for cats.

If your cat has dental issues like malocclusion of teeth, it is essential to monitor their dental health closely and take them for regular checkups. With proper dental care and treatment, your cat can enjoy healthy teeth and a comfortable life.

5) Crossbite in Cats

A crossbite in cats is a dental condition where the upper and lower teeth do not position correctly. It occurs when the top and bottom teeth dont meet properly in terms of orientation.

Crossbite can cause periodontal disease, chronic pain, jaw problems, and tooth loss.

Symptoms and Types of Crossbite in Cats

The common symptoms of crossbite in cats include misaligned teeth, difficulty closing the cat’s mouth, rubbing of the gums, oral pain, jaw locking and clicking sound when the cat eats.

Causes of Crossbite in Cats

Crossbite in cats could be caused by hereditary tendencies, injury to the mouth, retention of baby teeth, or distortion of the palate or jaw. Congenital crossbite occurs in certain cat breeds more commonly.

Diagnosis of Crossbite in Cats

A crossbite can be detected by a veterinarian during a dental checkup of a cat’s permanent teeth at around ten months. The diagnosis helps determine the severity, underlying cause, and appropriate treatment plan.

Treatment of Crossbite in Cats

Treatment for crossbite in cats depends on the severity and underlying cause of the condition. Common treatment approaches include dental extractions, dental appliances, braces, and correcting skeletal abnormalities.

A cat with mild crossbite may only need regular dental checkups and monitoring. In more severe cases, the veterinarian may recommend tooth extractions to prevent further complications.

A dental specialist may be required for complex cases, especially those involving jaw or palate anomalies. Braces are used to realign the teeth and improve their position.

6) Wry Mouth or Bite in Cats

Wry mouth or bite, also known as lateral deviation of the mandible, is a dental condition where the lower jaw grows longer on one side than the other. This causes misalignment of the teeth and can lead to the development of multiple dental disorders.

Symptoms and Types of Wry Mouth or Bite in Cats

Signs of Wry Mouth or Bite in cats include difficulty chewing, weight loss, abnormal gait, facial asymmetry, difficulty closing the mouth and biting, and soft tissue injuries.

Causes of Wry Mouth or Bite in Cats

The causes of wry mouth or bite in cats are complex and can be due to various factors such as genetics or developmental abnormalities, complicated labor, or trauma to the jaw.

Diagnosis of Wry Mouth or Bite in Cats

Diagnosis of wry mouth or bite in a cat is done through a physical examination by a veterinarian while the cat’s permanent teeth are coming in at around ten months of age.

Treatment of Wry Mouth or Bite in Cats

Treatment for wry mouth in cats involves a dental specialist that will fit corrective braces to adjust the teeth’ alignment and position. If caught early, some wry mouth cases correct themselves spontaneously, but other cats may require surgical intervention or long-term orthodontic therapy.

Conclusion

As with any medical condition, it is critical to have your cat seen by a veterinarian or dental specialist immediately they display symptoms associated with malocclusion of teeth. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent severe complications, and with the appropriate treatment plan, the cat can return to healthy dental hygiene and lead a comfortable life.

Ensure you keep up with the regular dental checkups of your cat to keep their dental issues in check regularly.

7) Base Narrow Canines in Cats

Base narrow canines is a dental condition that affects cats where the lower canine teeth protrude inward toward the upper palate. It is referred to as linguoversion or lingually displaced canines and can cause several dental problems, including damage to the upper palate, tooth loss, and periodontal disease.

Symptoms and Types of Base Narrow Canines in Cats

Common symptoms of base narrow canines in cats include difficulty eating, gum ulcers, bad breath, gum bleeding, periodontal disease, and rubbing of the teeth against the palate.

Causes of Base Narrow Canines in Cats

Base narrow canines in cats may be caused by an inherited tendency, although environmental factors may also play a role. If left untreated, base narrow canines can lead to periodontal disease, gum recession, and tooth root exposure.

Advanced or untreated cases can even require the extraction of affected teeth.

Diagnosis of Base Narrow Canines in Cats

Base narrow canines can be diagnosed through a physical examination of the cat’s mouth and teeth. A veterinarian will examine the cat’s permanent teeth, usually at 10 months’ age when the permanent teeth have just emerged or during regular dental checkups.

Treatment for Base Narrow Canines in Cats

Treatment options for base narrow canines in cats depend on the severity of the condition. If the affected teeth have not protruded too far inward, the cat may need regular dental cleaning and maintenance.

If the base narrow canines are severe, tooth extraction may be the best approach to prevent further dental and health issues that may arise. If orthodontic appliances are necessary, a dental specialist may be involved to correct the misalignment of the affected teeth.

Prevention of Base Narrow Canines in Cats

Base narrow canines can be prevented through proper dental care and hygiene. Regular dental checkups and cleaning, good nutrition, and avoiding harmful behavior, like chewing rocks or hard objects, can also help prevent base narrow canines and other dental issues.

Conclusion

Base narrow canines are a common dental condition that affects cats. With early diagnosis and treatment options available, cats with base narrow canines can return to good dental health and lead a comfortable life.

Special attention should be paid to the prevention of base narrow canines through proper dental care and hygiene to avoid further complications or dental issues. This article focuses on the most common forms of dental malocclusion in cats, including overbite, underbite, crossbite, level bite, wry mouth or bite, and base narrow canines.

These conditions can cause a range of symptoms, from difficulty eating and painful oral complications to facial asymmetry and abnormal gait. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent severe complications, including tooth loss, gum disease, infections, and even respiratory problems.

Regular dental checkups and proper dental care are essential to prevent these conditions from getting worse or causing further health problems. In summary, early detection and appropriate treatment are key to maintaining your cats dental health and improving their quality of life.

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