Cat dental facts
Kittens have 26 temporary teeth that begin to erupt when they are about 2 to 3 weeks old; They have 30 permanent teeth that erupt at about 3 to 4 months; The incisors (small teeth at the front of the mouth) are used for picking up food and grooming; The canines (big pointed teeth) are used for grabbing prey; The molars (teeth at the back of the mouth) are used for crunching and crushing the food; Cats tongues are covered in small ‘hairs’ called papillae that are used for grooming.
Dental disease in cats
Symptoms of periodontal disease in cats can include yellow and brown tartar build-up along the gum line, red inflamed gums, sneezing and persistent bad breath.
Cats get lesions in their teeth similar to caries or holes in humans, called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLs). FORLs are the most common tooth disease in domestic cats (according to some papers more than 50% of cats over 3 years old!).
Cats may be seen to groom less, be lethargic, or lose condition but if you open the mouth, often there will be inflammation, tartar, bleeding, broken teeth and other more subtle changes.
Dog dental facts
Puppies have 28 temporary teeth that erupt at about three to four weeks of age. They have 42 permanent teeth that begin to emerge at about four months; Temporary teeth should be pushed out when the permanent tooth erupts underneath it - small breeds (especially short nosed) are more prone to problems due to ‘overcrowding’ of the teeth.
Dental disease in dogs
Symptoms of gum disease in dogs include yellow and brown build-up of tartar along the gum line, inflamed gums and persistent bad breath.
Broken teeth are a common problem. Chewing on hard objects (especially stones and bones) and rough play can cause damage to the teeth. They can be repaired or removed to prevent abscesses and chronic pain.
What to do if I think my pet has dental problems?
Very rarely will an animal stop eating due to dental pain except in extremely severe cases. In-appetence is a very poor indicator of dental pain in animals. They would rather be painful than starve. Dental disease affects up to 80% of pets over the age of three and just like humans, there can be serious consequences of poor dental health. If dental disease is present, depending on the type of disease, intervention can save teeth.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for free dental checks at the clinic and advice.