Ever looked at your cat and wondered how many teeth they have? You are not alone!
After all, your cute and cuddly kitten is the pinnacle of hunting evolution – they are bound to have some serious chompers in there!
An adult cat will have 30 teeth unless something has gone wrong at some point!
Cats who have more than 30 teeth may run into problems so could benefit from a trip to the vet.
Cats who have fewer teeth may have had them accidentally or deliberately removed.
Curious? Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about your cat’s dentition!
How Many Teeth Do Cats Have?
Like humans, cats have two sets of teeth in their lives. They have a set when they are young that drops out when the second set pushes through the gums.
The first set of teeth, a bit like a human child’s milk teeth, are called deciduous teeth.
A kitten will have 26 deciduous teeth that fall out when the permanent teeth, or adult teeth, develop. An adult cat should have 30 permanent teeth.
When Do Cats Get Milk Teeth?
Like a human baby, a kitten is born with no visible teeth. They are just gums!
At around 21 days old the deciduous milk teeth – the ones that drop out – erupt through the gums.
This teething process will carry on for around 5 weeks until your cat is roughly 2 months old.
Read more about the teething process below.
When Do Cats Get Permanent Teeth?
Fortunately for your kitten, teething in cats is a fairly swift window of their lives. The process is even quicker for permanent teeth.
Once teething has finished and all of their deciduous teeth have erupted, your cat should be around 2 months old.
These teeth will begin to fall out once your kitten is around 6 months old – this is just a 4-month window for them to have baby teeth!
Within 8 weeks, all of their deciduous teeth should have fallen out and been replaced by its permanent counterpart and a few extras.
By the time your cat is 8 months of age, they will have all 30 of their permanent teeth ready to start chomping!
Do Kittens Go Through The Teething Process?
Yes, kittens go through teething.
The first phase is when their deciduous teeth are coming through. This can be an unpleasant experience for your kitten.
As teeth are central to a cat’s overall health and well-being, it is recommended that you get them used to tooth brushing as soon as possible.
It is generally recommended that you get your cat used to your fingers being in or near their mouths before this stage of teething begins.
This is because teething can be very uncomfortable, and you don’t want to create any negative connotations between the toothbrush and pain.
The second phase of teething takes place when the adult teeth push to erupt and deciduous teeth fall out.
During this time, the tooth buds gradually get closer to the gum line – ‘tooth buds’ is the term for undeveloped permanent or adult teeth.
These buds move through the bone of the jaw and eventually out of the gums and into the mouth.
In an ideal world, this eruption of the adult tooth would force out all the deciduous teeth 100% of the time. However, this does not always happen.
Occasionally you may notice that the adult tooth has grown alongside the tooth that should have fallen out. When this happens, the milk tooth is called a persistent deciduous tooth.
You should not be alarmed if you find deciduous teeth or tooth shells while your kitten is teething – it is perfectly natural!
You also shouldn’t worry if you do not find all of their deciduous teeth as most of them will fall out while your kitten is eating, and they are usually swallowed.
This rarely causes issues. Remember that your kitten is likely to be in discomfort during this time so may not want to eat.
You may also notice that your kitten is more irritable, more forlorn, producing more drool, or has bad breath.
Again, these symptoms are natural and are not necessarily something to be concerned about.
It may be necessary to seek veterinary advice if these symptoms are particularly severe or if they persist for longer than a few weeks.
One other key thing to remember is that your kitten will want to chew when they are first teething.
The pressure in their gums when they clamp down with their jaws can help alleviate the pain and encourage the new teeth to erupt.
Keep in mind that you may need to direct your cat’s chewing to appropriate things!
Chewing toys? Yes! Chewing humans? No! You also need to make sure that they are not chewing very hard objects.
These will damage the teeth as they come out of the gum.
What Is A Persistent Tooth?
A persistent tooth is a deciduous tooth that does not fall out when it is supposed to and stays in place next to the permanent tooth.
This means that it is taking up room in your cat’s mouth that it shouldn’t, often causing the adult or permanent tooth to erupt at a bad angle or in a weird position.
This can have serious consequences.
Keep a particular eye out for your kitten’s upper and lower canine, and incisor deciduous teeth. These are the ones that are most likely to be persistent.
Are Persistent Teeth Bad?
In short, yes. Persistent teeth are not good for your cat.
Your cat has evolved to have 30 permanent teeth as an adult – anymore is too many and will cause issues.
Overcrowding of your cat’s teeth or a permanent tooth in a suboptimal position can cause an abnormal bite to develop.
This is called malocclusion and needs to be avoided as much as possible.
This is because your cat’s teeth are sharp so any tooth hitting tissue it isn’t supposed to will cause serious damage quickly.
Keep in mind that any dental misalignment can have serious consequences and affect your cat’s comfort.
It is common that these types of issues prevent them from eating properly, causing more damage to their health down the line.
Proper orthodontic treatment will guarantee that your cat has a happy life!
How Do I Treat My Cat’s Persistent Tooth?
Keep an eye on your kitten as their deciduous teeth fall out. As soon as you notice a persistent tooth, make an appointment with your vet.
They will likely need to extract the tooth to keep your cat healthy.
Regularly checking your cat’s mouth is important as treating misalignment issues early gives your cat the best chances of normal and healthy development.
Should I Brush My Cat’s Teeth?
Yes! Brushing your cat’s teeth is by far the easiest way to prevent dental plaque and to keep your cat’s oral health in top condition.
You need to slowly introduce your cat to having their teeth brushed, with the end goal of incorporating this into their daily routine.
You must implement a tooth cleaning regime slowly, no matter what age your cat is.
Kittens have 26 deciduous teeth – fall out – and then 30 permanent teeth as adult cats.
It is essential to keep an eye on your cat’s oral hygiene no matter their age but is particularly essential to regularly check your kitten’s mouth when their deciduous teeth are coming out to monitor any persistent teeth.
As soon as you notice two teeth in one spot, you need to make an appointment with your vet to have some treatment.