Is It Normal For A 6 Month Old Cat To Lose Teeth?

Normal Teething Process for Kittens

Kittens are born without any teeth. Around 2-4 weeks of age, their baby teeth start coming in. These are known as deciduous or “milk” teeth. Kittens will have a full set of 26 deciduous teeth by around 6-8 weeks old. These include:

  • 12 incisors
  • 4 canines
  • 10 pre-molars

Deciduous teeth start falling out around 3-6 months of age as the permanent adult teeth push through the gums to replace them. Kittens don’t get their molars until the permanent adult teeth come in. By around 6-7 months old, kittens will have all 30 of their permanent adult teeth. These include:

  • 12 incisors
  • 4 canines
  • 10 pre-molars
  • 4 molars

It’s completely normal for kittens to lose their baby teeth around 3-6 months as part of the natural teething process. The permanent teeth replace the deciduous teeth as the kitten’s jaw grows. By 7 months old, kittens will typically have a full set of adult teeth.

Sources:

https://www.purina.co.uk/articles/cats/health/dental/how-many-teeth-do-cats-have

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/retained-deciduous-teeth-baby-teeth-in-cats

Primary Teeth

Kittens are born without teeth. Around 2-4 weeks of age, they start getting their first set of teeth, known as deciduous or “milk” teeth 1. These teeth are also sometimes called primary teeth or baby teeth. Kittens initially get a small number of incisors on the top and bottom. These teeth help them transition from nursing to eating solid food 2.

According to 1, the first teeth to come in are the incisors around 3-4 weeks of age. Kittens will have all their primary teeth by around 6-8 weeks of age.

Sources:
1. https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/behavior-appearance/kitten-teething

2. https://www.aspcapro.org/resource/telling-kittens-age-four-steps

Deciduous Teeth

Kittens are born without any teeth. They start getting their first set of deciduous (baby) teeth around 3-4 weeks old. According to the Mountainaire Animal Clinic, kittens have 26 deciduous teeth that start irritating the mother cat when feeding around this time.

The deciduous teeth begin falling out around 12-16 weeks old as the permanent adult teeth start pushing through the gums. Wellpet Humane explains that kittens normally start losing their baby teeth around 3-4 months old. As the permanent teeth erupt, the roots of the deciduous teeth begin to dissolve until they become loose and fall out.

Kittens usually swallow their baby teeth as they fall out. It’s rare for them to leave any behind. The entire deciduous teething process takes around 4-5 months from start to finish. By 6 months old, almost all of a kitten’s deciduous teeth should have fallen out and been replaced by permanent adult teeth.

Sources:

https://www.mountainaireanimalclinic.com/site/blog/2022/06/15/signs-your-kitten-teething

https://www.wellpethumane.com/site/blog/2022/08/31/kitten-teething-when-they-lose-baby-teeth

Permanent Teeth

Permanent adult teeth start coming in around 3-6 months to replace the fallen deciduous teeth. Kittens are born without any visible teeth. Around 2-4 weeks of age, their deciduous or “baby” teeth start erupting through the gums. By around 8 weeks old, kittens should have all 26 of their deciduous teeth. These teeth are small, needle-like and sharp.[1]

The permanent teeth begin erupting around 3-4 months of age as the roots of the deciduous teeth start being resorbed. By around 6 months of age, a kitten should have most or all of its permanent teeth erupted, which include 14 incisors and canines (front teeth), 10 premolars, and 6 molars (back teeth). [2] The permanent teeth are larger, thicker, and stronger than the temporary deciduous teeth they replace. Sometimes a few deciduous teeth may be retained and not fall out on their own, which may require extraction by a vet.

Kittens may experience teething discomfort from 4-7 months of age as the permanent teeth come in. Signs can include drooling, loss of appetite, chewing on inappropriate objects, and minor gum inflammation. Providing chew toys and gentle gum massages can help kittens through this process.

[1] https://www.petmd.com/cat/general-health/kitten-teething-guide

[2] https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/retained-deciduous-teeth-baby-teeth-in-cats

Teething Symptoms

Kittens typically begin teething between 3-4 weeks of age as their deciduous (baby) teeth start to erupt. This teething process can cause some mild discomfort and irritation. Common symptoms of teething in kittens include:

Increased chewing – Kittens may chew on toys, furniture, bedding, or anything they can get their mouths on more frequently. The pressure on their gums brings relief. https://www.purina.co.uk/articles/cats/kitten/health/kitten-teething

Drooling – Excess saliva production is common during teething. You may notice more drool around your kitten’s mouth.

Irritated gums – As the new teeth erupt through the gums, they can become red, swollen and irritated. Your kitten may have minor gum bleeding.

Mild discomfort – Some kittens may be fussier during teething due to discomfort. They may vocalize more or have changes in appetite.

Teething symptoms in kittens are generally mild. If symptoms seem severe or you have concerns, consult your veterinarian.

Helping Kittens Through Teething

There are several ways to help kittens get through the teething process with minimal discomfort. Providing chew toys specifically designed for kittens can give their sore gums and incoming teeth some relief. Look for chew toys made of soft rubber or cloth that kittens can safely gnaw and chomp on. You can soak the toys in water and freeze them to provide an extra soothing chill.

Feeding soft or wet foods is easier for teething kittens to chew and swallow. Canned kitten food or meat-based baby foods can be ideal options during this stage. You can also add a little warm water to dry kibble to soften it up. Avoid feeding hard kibbles or treats until your kitten has all their adult teeth.

Gently massaging your kitten’s gums and jaw can provide soothing relief, like rubbing a teething baby’s gums. Use light, circular motions and avoid putting too much pressure. Make sure your hands are clean before massaging. Some kittens may resist at first but then relax as the massage eases their discomfort.

You can also give them chilled (not frozen) wet washcloths or small towels to chew on. The combination of the texture and cool temperature can temporarily numb sore gums. Just monitor your kitten to ensure they don’t try to ingest any pieces of the cloth.

Retained Deciduous Teeth

Normally, a kitten’s deciduous (baby) teeth fall out as the permanent teeth erupt and take their place. However, sometimes the roots of the deciduous teeth do not properly reabsorb, causing the baby teeth to be retained even after the permanent teeth have erupted (vcahospitals.com).

Retained deciduous teeth can cause problems for permanent teeth coming in. The baby tooth can block the permanent tooth from erupting in the right location. This can lead to malocclusion, or improper alignment of the teeth. Crooked teeth make it difficult for cats to chew and can lead to dental disease. Retained baby teeth should be extracted as soon as possible once the permanent tooth is visible under the gums.

Taking Your Kitten to the Vet

It’s important to take your kitten to the veterinarian for regular checkups during the teething process. The vet will carefully examine your kitten’s mouth and monitor the progress of teething at each visit. This allows them to ensure the baby teeth are emerging properly and on schedule. The vet can also identify any potential issues like retained baby teeth, abnormalities, or dental disease early on.

Regular veterinary checkups during teething allow the vet to track the shedding of baby teeth and eruption of permanent teeth. The typical schedule is vaccinations and exams every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Your vet may want to evaluate teething progress more frequently during this period if any problems are suspected.

Bring up any concerns you have about your kitten’s teething at checkups. Signs your vet will look for include inflammation in the gums, loose teeth, reluctance to eat hard food, drooling, and facial swelling. If your kitten is having trouble teething, the vet can recommend soothing remedies and ensure there are no underlying health issues interfering with the process.

With the vet carefully monitoring your kitten’s teething, you can feel confident that issues will be promptly identified and addressed. Regular checkups help set kittens up for a lifetime of dental health. For more information, see the Purina article on kitten teething.

Caring for Your Kitten’s Teeth

Proper dental care for kittens is important to prevent issues like gum disease or tooth loss later in life. There are several things you can do to care for your kitten’s teeth:

Brushing your kitten’s teeth daily is the best way to remove plaque and prevent tartar buildup. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste. Brush gently in circular motions along the outer surfaces of the teeth. Introduce toothbrushing slowly and make it a positive experience with praise and treats (Iams).

Feeding a veterinary dental diet or treats can also help control plaque and tartar. These foods are formulated to naturally scrub the teeth. Look for the VOHC seal from the Veterinary Oral Health Council when choosing dental products (The Spruce Pets).

Provide safe chews to satisfy your kitten’s chewing instinct and keep teeth clean. Stick to chews designed specifically for cats to avoid GI issues. Supervise your kitten when chewing to prevent choking or swallowing large pieces (RSPCA).

Teething is Normal in Kittens

Losing baby teeth around 3-6 months of age is a normal part of development for kittens. Kittens are born without any teeth. Around 2-4 weeks of age, their first set of 26 baby teeth, also called deciduous or milk teeth, will start to erupt. These deciduous teeth are gradually replaced by permanent adult teeth starting around 3 months old.

According to veterinarians, it is completely normal for kittens to start losing their baby teeth as early as 3 months, with full adult dentition typically complete between 6-7 months of age (Mountainaire Animal Clinic, 2022). As the permanent teeth develop under the gums, they put pressure on the roots of the deciduous teeth, causing the roots to dissolve and the baby teeth to fall out.

So if you notice your 5-6 month old kitten has missing or loose teeth, do not be alarmed. This is a sign of normal development as the permanent teeth come in to replace the baby teeth. Teething can be uncomfortable for kittens, so be sure to provide extra comfort and affection during this transitional period.

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