Retained Baby Teeth in Cats
A retained or persistent deciduous (baby) tooth is one that is still present despite the eruption of the permanent tooth (which takes place between three to sevens months of age). Such teeth may go undiagnosed until later in life.
Persistent deciduous teeth can cause the permanent teeth to erupt in abnormal positions, resulting in a bad bite. The “bite” describes how the upper and lower teeth fit together in the mouth and can have a significant effect on biting and chewing. Early recognition and reparative dental care is essential. Retained teeth can cause overcrowding of new teeth, teeth to bite into the palate, and abnormal tooth position or abnormal jaw position.
Symptoms and Types
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Abnormally-positioned permanent teeth
- Swollen, red, bleeding gums around baby teeth
- Local gingivitis and periodontal disease due to teeth overcrowding
- A permanent abnormal passageway between the mouth and nasal cavity (oronasal fistula)
Your veterinarian will perform a complete physical exam, which will include inspecting your cat's mouth. Your veterinarian will chart the teeth present in the mouth to assure and record the presence of deciduous (baby) teeth along with the teeth that have succesfully grown in. X-rays of the inside of the mouth may also need to be taken to make certain which teeth are baby teeth and which are permanent teeth, to see if the baby tooth is ready to fall out or be removed, and to make sure that the baby tooth has a permanent tooth to replace it.