Why Is My Cats Bottom Teeth Sticking Out? Causes and Solutions
Cats, with their enigmatic and often aloof demeanor, can sometimes leave their human companions puzzled, especially when it comes to matters of their health. One common concern that may raise eyebrows is the sight of a cat’s bottom teeth sticking out. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why is my cats bottom teeth sticking out?” you’re not alone. Let’s delve into the possible reasons behind your cat’s bottom teeth protruding and explore potential solutions.
Normal Tooth Development in Cats
Before we jump into the reasons behind protruding bottom teeth, it’s helpful to have a basic understanding of feline dental anatomy. Cats, like humans, undergo changes in their teeth from kittenhood to adulthood. By the time a cat reaches six months of age, it typically has 26 baby teeth, and as it matures, this number increases to 30 adult teeth.
Malocclusion: When the Bite Doesn’t Align
One primary reason for a cat’s bottom teeth sticking out is malocclusion. This term refers to a misalignment of the teeth, where the upper and lower jaws do not fit together as they should. Malocclusion can begin during a cat’s early stages of tooth development, worsening as adult teeth replace the baby ones.
The smaller front teeth, known as incisors, are responsible for grasping food and keeping the tongue inside the mouth. Behind these, we find the canines or fangs, which are used for grasping as well. Following the canines are the premolars, used for shearing or cutting food, and finally, the molars at the back of the mouth for chewing.
Symptoms and Types of Malocclusion
When a cat experiences malocclusion, several problems can arise, including mouth injuries, periodontal disease, wear on the teeth, and even fractures. The specific type of malocclusion can vary, leading to different observable conditions:
Overbite: Sometimes called overshot, Class 2, or overjet, an overbite occurs when the upper jaw is longer than the lower one. This can result in a gap between the upper and lower incisors when the mouth is closed.
Underbite: Also known as undershot, reverse scissor bite, or Class 3 malocclusion, an underbite happens when the lower jaw protrudes beyond the upper jaw.
Level Bite: Sometimes referred to as an even bite, this occurs when the upper and lower incisors meet evenly.
Open Bite: In cases of an open bite, the front teeth don’t meet each other when the mouth is closed.
Anterior Crossbite: This condition involves normal occlusion of canines and premolars, but one or more lower incisors are in front of the upper incisors.
Posterior Crossbite: Here, one or more premolar teeth overlap the upper teeth.
Wry Mouth or Bite: This occurs when one side of the jaw grows longer than the other.
Base Narrow Canines: In this condition, lower teeth protrude inward and can harm the upper palate.
Causes of Malocclusion in Cats
Several factors can contribute to malocclusion in cats:
Congenital or Hereditary Factors: Some cats may be genetically predisposed to malocclusion, inheriting the condition from their parents.
Failure of Proper Tooth Eruption: If a cat’s deciduous (baby) or permanent (adult) teeth don’t erupt properly, it can lead to malocclusion.
Trauma to the Mouth: Injuries to the mouth, especially during a cat’s playful or explorative activities, can result in malocclusion.
Retained Baby Teeth: If baby teeth aren’t shed in a timely manner, they can interfere with the proper positioning of adult teeth.
Treatment for Malocclusion
The good news is that not all cases of malocclusion require treatment. However, when necessary, extractions may be recommended. Regular teeth brushing is also advised to prevent the abnormal buildup of tartar and plaque.
For those seeking to correct teeth misalignment, veterinary consultation is crucial. In recent years, a fascinating development has emerged – braces for kittens. These “kitty braces” aim to realign teeth before they pose significant health issues. While it may sound unconventional, these braces are designed to address malocclusion and enhance a cat’s oral health.
What to Do if I Notice My Cat’s Bottom Teeth Sticking Out
If you observe that your cat’s bottom teeth are sticking out, it’s essential to take action. Schedule a visit to your veterinarian for a comprehensive dental examination. The vet will assess the type and severity of malocclusion, recommend a course of action, and discuss potential treatment options.
Final Words: Prioritizing Your Cat’s Dental Health
Understanding why your cat’s bottom teeth may be sticking out is the first step in ensuring their overall well-being. Regular veterinary check-ups, coupled with a proactive approach to dental care, can contribute to a happy and healthy feline friend. Whether it’s monitoring tooth development in kittens or addressing malocclusion in adult cats, your attention to their dental health will undoubtedly make a positive impact on their quality of life.