Feline dental malocclusion is a condition where a cat’s teeth don’t meet properly when they close their mouth. Dental malocclusion can cause pain, difficulty eating, as well as other issues. It’s important to identify this condition early on in order to prevent further damage to your cat’s teeth and mouth.
The most common causes of feline dental malocclusion are genetics, trauma, or infection. Genetics is the most common cause and can be inherited from either parent. Traumatic injury to their mouth or jaw can also cause malocclusion. The injury can be caused by something as simple as a cat playing too rough or an accident. Infections in their mouth such as gingivitis or periodontal disease can lead to teeth misalignment.
Symptoms of Feline Dental Malocclusion
The symptoms of feline dental malocclusion can range from mild to severe. Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty eating
- Pawing at their mouth
- Bad breath
Other signs can include:
- Facial swelling
- Difficulty closing their mouth
- Teeth discoloration
- Visible misalignment of your cat’s teeth when they close their mouth
Feline dental malocclusion is a painful and potentially dangerous condition, and it’s important to look for early signs of the problem. It’s best to take your cat to the vet for an examination if you think that they have any of these symptoms.
Diagnosing Feline Dental Malocclusion
Diagnosing feline dental malocclusion is usually done through physical examination and x-rays of their mouth. During the physical examination, the vet will look for any signs of misalignment, facial swelling, difficulty closing their mouth, teeth discoloration, and other symptoms. X-rays can help identify any underlying causes such as trauma or infection that could be causing the misalignment.
Stages of Feline Dental Malocclusion
Feline dental malocclusion can be broken down into three stages.
The first stage is a mild misalignment and might not cause any symptoms or discomfort.
The second stage is a moderate misalignment, which usually causes some pain and difficulty eating.
The third stage is a severe misalignment, which typically causes extreme pain and difficulty eating.
Treating Feline Dental Malocclusion
Treating Feline Dental Malocclusion depends on the stage and severity of the condition. For mild misalignment, a vet could recommend adjusting your cat’s diet to soft foods or special dental treats designed to help clean their teeth. The soft foods or treats can help reduce discomfort and improve overall dental health. If the misalignment is more severe, surgery could be recommended in order to re-align it.
Preventing Feline Dental Malocclusion
The best way to prevent feline dental malocclusion is to ensure that your cat receives regular veterinary care. Having regular checkups and cleanings can help identify any potential problems early on, so they can be addressed before becoming severe. Giving your cats safe chew toys and dental treats can also help keep your cat’s teeth healthy and strong.