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What is Teeth Misalignment?

Misalignment of the teeth in cats (malocclusion) occurs when the teeth or jaw is not properly situated, which prohibits proper function. This misalignment can range from minor or cosmetic to major or functional and can have a severe impact on your cat’s well-being. While malocclusion can occur as a result of an injury, it is typically seen beginning with kittens and is a condition that will worsen over time as your cat’s jaw structure and teeth continue to grow. 

Teeth Misalignment Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Teeth Misalignment in Cats

Misalignment of teeth will most likely be evident during any examination of the mouth or bite. In the absence of an oral exam, owners should watch for the following symptoms, which may be signs that there is a misalignment issue:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Small pieces of food left behind
  • Unexplained wounds to gums from teeth striking inappropriately
  • Abscesses as a result of injury to mouth
  • Exposed canines
  • Lopsided appearance to mouth
  • Drooling

Types

There are a variety of different types of misalignment affecting various functions and specific areas of your cat’s mouth. The following are some of the most common types of malocclusion.

  • Mandibular Distoclusion: Also known as an overbite. Occurs when the top of the jaw is longer and extends out excessively over the bottom jaw.
  • Mandibular Mesioclusion: Also known as an underbite. Occurs when the bottom of the jaw is longer and extends past the top portion of the jaw, creating a jutting chin appearance.
  • Maxillary Mandibular Asymmetry: Also known as a wry bite. Occurs when either the right or the left side of the jaw does not grow at the same rate as the other side. Creates the appearance that the top and bottom jaws are not on the same angle.

Individual teeth may also be misaligned or growing in the wrong direction, independent of or in connection with a whole mouth misalignment condition.

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Causes of Teeth Misalignment in Cats

Kittens are typically born toothless and with a relatively longer upper jaw, both of which characteristics allow for easier nursing. As a kitten grows, the jaws should grow in proper proportion to allow for weaning from their mother onto other types of solid food. Misalignment of teeth occurs when either the jaw or individual teeth fail to grow at their normal rate. Common causes of this include:

  • Congenital or hereditary defect
  • Failure to lose deciduous or “baby” teeth
  • Too many adult teeth in mouth
  • Poor or inappropriate nutrition
  • Trauma to the face or jaw
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Diagnosis of Teeth Misalignment in Cats

Diagnosis of teeth misalignment will begin with a thorough physical examination of your cat’s mouth and jaw area. Your vet will count the number of teeth and, if possible, carefully massage the gums to determine whether any teeth are erupting or attempting to erupt around retained baby teeth. Misalignment of teeth can typically be diagnosed as early as six weeks old although it is rare that most owners bring kittens this young for veterinary visits. It will, therefore, be important to an accurate diagnosis for you to provide your vet with a history of development of your cat’s teeth, if possible.

In addition to the physical exam, your vet may also order x-rays of your cat’s jaw area to confirm the presence of retained baby teeth. This will also allow the veterinarian to rule out defects in the structure of the jaw or potential trauma.

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Treatment of Teeth Misalignment in Cats

Treatment of teeth misalignment in your cat will depend on the severity of the condition and the age of your cat at the time of diagnosis. In less severe cases, teeth misalignment will correct itself over time as the baby teeth drop out and make room for the adult cat teeth. Your veterinarian will use the results of their physical examination and x-ray imaging to determine the likelihood of self-correction.

In some cases, treatment of teeth misalignment may require extraction of the immature teeth to make room for the adult versions. These procedures are routine, but will require your cat to be placed under anesthesia. Prior to surgery, your vet will order a complete blood profile to ensure the cat is healthy enough for surgery. Once the baby teeth are extracted, the adult teeth will have the room needed to properly erupt and correction of the misalignment should occur over a period of weeks to several months. In some cases, cat versions of braces may also be recommended to correct bite issues if adult teeth have already erupted in in appropriate alignment.

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Recovery of Teeth Misalignment in Cats

In most cases, prognosis for full recovery from teeth misalignment is good. If extraction is needed, you will need to carefully follow post-surgical procedures recommended by your vet to ensure proper healing. For long term management, you should work with your vet to develop an appropriate oral hygiene routine for your cat. This may involve special treats which scrub your cat’s teeth. Your routine may also include regular teeth cleaning, both at your vet’s office and at home. Special tooth brushes and cleaning pastes are available for use at home on your cat. With appropriate cleaning and veterinary care, your cat should recover well from teeth misalignment issues. 

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Teeth Misalignment Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$800

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Teeth Misalignment Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Domestic Cat

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Eleven Weeks

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Overbite

My kitten has a short jaw, you can run your finger over his top teeth while stroking the front of his bottom jaw. He isn't in any pain and is eating fine, but I want to ensure he will continue to have a normal upbringing despite this deformaty. Should i consider continuing as we are or contact my vet and get them to fully examine him?

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your kitten. Some kittens can grow out of this and most will still live a perfectly normal life despite this abnormality. It still would be best for your kitten to see a vet and make sure that he will be okay. I hope your kitten is okay.

July 23, 2020

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Jack

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American Shorthair

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13 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Tooth Misalignment

I notice in the last couple of days my cats bottom right fang is overlapping his upper lip and I want to know how bad this is? And what can I do to prevent it from getting any worse?

June 13, 2018

Jack's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Jack's tooth is loose, he may need to have treatment for that, and there is not a lot that you can do at home to prevent that from worsening. Without being able to see him, it is hard for me to comment on what might be going on, and it would probably be best to have him seen by a veterinarian, as they can look at him and determine any therapy that he might need.

June 13, 2018

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Atlas

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Domestic shorthair

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7 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Meowing A Lot

I took my cat to the vet after one of his baby canines on the bottom was knocked loose. They pulled it out but now the adult tooth isn't coming in the correct spot nor is it angling the way it should. It's going a bit to one side and is growing straight upwards and seems to be putting some pressure on the top of the inside of his mouth. So I was wondering if I should have the vet extract the canine? They originally told me to wait a few months to see if it corrects itself but I am worried that the longer I wait, the more expensive it will be. We are a one income family that lives paycheck to paycheck with next to nothing in our bank account so we cannot afford dental surgery.

June 1, 2018

Atlas' Owner

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3320 Recommendations

For now a wait and see approach may be taken, especially if the tooth isn’t causing any issues with the soft tissue within the mouth; however the cost of a tooth extraction will be pretty much the same if you do it now or after a few months. If you want the tooth extracted regardless, you should visit your Veterinarian or a charity clinic. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.helpinghandsvetva.com/procedures-pricing/ (dental section)

June 2, 2018

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Cosmo

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Ocicat

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1 Year

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Overbite, Appearance Of Blisters

I have an Ocicat, Cosmo, who just turned 1 on 9/7/19. I have just noticed that his 2 upper fangs appear to have an overbite and show when he closes his mouth. I examined his mouth more carefully last night and found that due to these fangs hitting his bottom gums, he has developed what looks like 2 blisters (one of each side) of his bottom gums where the top teeth are hitting. Does this sound like something that can be rectified?

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ICE

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Russian Blue

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10 Months

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Drooling

I have a cat his name isICE. My boyfriend picked him up trim a family. I noticed his mouth looked a little funny but i figured he would grow out of it. He was about 7 weeks. He is now n about 10 months now and it's worse. He has an under bite and his baby teeth and i guess adult teeth growing. He drools and leave food behind softorhard on the floor. Is he a candidate for surgery?

Teeth Misalignment Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$800

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