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What is Missing Teeth?

Cats develop baby teeth as kittens at around 4 to 6 weeks of age. They will then lose their baby teeth and by the age of six months, they will have their permanent adult teeth. Cats should not lose their teeth, though it is not unusual for it to happen. Cats can lose teeth for the following reasons:

  • Injury
  • Disease

The seriousness of your cat losing his teeth will depend on why they are being lost, along with what is going on in his mouth. Should your cat lose one or more teeth, you should bring him to the veterinarian for an examination so that any issues can be resolved.

Why Missing Teeth Occurs in Cats

Your cat may have lost a tooth (or more than one tooth) for any of the following reasons:

Injury

Your cat can experience an injury that has led to his tooth becoming loose and falling out. Trauma from a fall or vehicular collision are two ways that a feline can incur serious injury that may involve tooth loss. A veterinary visit should always be made after a pet experiences a traumatic event.

Disease

What your cat is eating can result in his losing his teeth. It is important to note that cats do not have true grinding surfaces on their teeth and their natural diet is meat, not food that is dry or canned. It is a myth that regular dry cat food cleans your cat’s teeth; in fact, the build-up that occurs on his teeth when your cat eats either canned or dry food can lead to dental issues as plaque is more likely to form. This includes periodontal disease, gingivitis and odontoclastic resorptive lesions.

Periodontal disease is the result of food collecting around your cat’s teeth and gums. When it combines with bacteria, a plaque is formed and will result in tartar. Once tartar infiltrates the gums they become inflamed; the gums are tender and can separate from your cat’s teeth. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that occurs prior to developing into periodontal disease. Gingivitis can be treated so that it does not progress. Odontoclastic resorptive lesions form due to plaque and they can cause permanent damage to the tooth that is infected, ultimately leading to its decay.

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What to do if your Cat is Missing Teeth

It is important to pay attention to your cat’s mouth and symptoms of possible issues. You will want to watch for the following in your cat:

  • Bad breath
  • A lot of saliva
  • Bleeding gums or gums that are red and swollen
  • Receding gums
  • Plaque on his teeth (plaque is white and soft and able to be removed from his tooth)
  • Tartar on his teeth (this is where plaque has become harder and will need to be removed by your veterinarian)
  • A cracked tooth or teeth
  • Diminished or loss of appetite
  • Loss of weight
  • Pawing at his mouth (this may point to pain in his mouth)

If you notice any of these signs and/or your cat loses a tooth, you will want to schedule an examination with your veterinarian. 

Your veterinarian will conduct a physical examination, paying close attention to your cat’s mouth and teeth. Should there be plaque present, your veterinarian can clean your cat’s teeth to avoid problems in the future. If your veterinarian determines that there is an infection present, he may prescribe an antibiotic. Depending upon the examination, your veterinarian may consider radiography in order to see if any teeth need to be extracted. This may be necessary if the infection has spread so that your cat can avoid developing a generalized infection. Filings may be an option for teeth that have cracked.

All dental treatments will be conducted under anesthesia. It is important for your cat to receive treatment as any bacteria involved in dental disease can make its way through his bloodstream and infect his heart, kidneys and liver.

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Prevention of Missing Teeth

A good way to ensure your cat’s dental health is to brush his teeth on a daily basis either with a finger brush or special toothbrush. This will benefit his teeth and gums. There is special toothpaste for cats that should be used; using your toothpaste may lead to toxicity in your cat. You can also take him for an annual cleaning with your veterinarian in order to remove the plaque and tartar. 

There are certain foods that your veterinarian may be able to recommend that reduce tartar. Dental formula food that is hard and dry can help in preventing plaque as it will require your cat to chew and it will rub his teeth. Chewing on toys can also help; this is especially useful if your cat will not tolerate your brushing his teeth. Using soft cotton, you can massage your cat’s gums on a weekly basis to help your cat avoid developing gingivitis; it will also help you notice gum inflammation so that you can catch any issues before they worsen.

Keeping your cat indoors is the best way to help him avoid injury that could lead to his losing any teeth.

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Cost of Missing Teeth

The cost of your cat missing teeth will depend upon the reason for the teeth either falling out or requiring removal. In the case of gum disease, the cost can be anywhere from $400 to $1200, depending upon the extent of the condition as well as the cost of living where your cat is being treated.

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Missing Teeth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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domestic short hair

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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9 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lost Teeth

my one year old girl cat has no small teeth on her bottom jaw (molars and canine teeth are all there top and bottom jaw) and 3 very very tiny adult teeth on her top jaw. no health issues what so ever , should i be concerned? her brother passed away in my arms march of this year from a misdiagnosis of a juvenile heart condition, mistook for a murmur. she has been to the vet 3 times since and she’s healthy as can be.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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9 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. As long as the teeth are not impacted, there should not be a problem if they are missing. If you noticed that they are red or swollen at any point, then it may be a good idea to have an x-ray taken of her mouth to make sure that the teeth have just not erupted yet. Otherwise, that should not affect her life or her eating. I hope that all goes well for her.

Oct. 3, 2020

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Cat

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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7 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Missing Teeth

My 2 year old car is loosing her bottom and top front teeth.

July 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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7 Recommendations

Hello, Cats and dog both commonly lose their front teeth. They will still be able to eat just fine without these teeth.

July 30, 2020

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Nikki

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DOMESTIC

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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2 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Loss Of Mass
Loss Of Appetite,
Loss Of Appetite, Doesn'T Go Potty,

Usually she can't stop eating. Last few months noticed her gums were swollen, she lost some front teeth. She has been urinating outside of the litterbox and her appetite is decreased to the point where she barely poops. When she pees it's very dark and she goes once a day where she used to go frequently. She rarely poops now and when she does they are tar black and as big as a pinky finger. USG showed nothing unusual Impossible to get a blood sample

Sept. 18, 2018

Nikki's Owner

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Phoenix

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Longhair Siamese Tabby

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have a picture of Phoenix from a couple months ago with 6 incisors on his mandible. I checked today and he only has 4 left. He doesn't seem like he's in pain and nothing has changed about his diet. Should I be concerned?

Sept. 18, 2018

Phoenix's Owner

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Stella

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American Short Hair

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10 Months

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

None

My kitty is about 10 months old, and this morning I found a tooth on the floor. Her breath doesn't smell and she doesn't ever seem to be in pain. She's been eating normally too. I just don't know what to do, she lost all her baby teeth and her adult ones are all there, but the one now. She constantly nibbles on my fingers, not as much as she did when she was a baby tho. The inside of her mouth looks fine, no redness or buildup. Just don't know where to go from here

Aug. 12, 2018

Stella's Owner

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0 Recommendations

It may be that Stella lost a retained tooth (especially if there is no root on it) but if there is a root or it looks like it has snapped off you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination and possibly some dental x-rays to be on the safe side. I cannot say for certain what the specific cause would be or if this is the start of something more concerning. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 13, 2018

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Xena

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Oriental Shorthair Cat

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8 Years

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Serious severity

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0 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Weight Loss
Missing Teeth

Xena lost all of her teeth a year back. It was a mystery to us since she didn't seem to have any pain, she didn't have bad breath or swollen gums either. Our vet said that this can happen sometimes. At that time she weighed 8 lbs. In the meantime she only weighs 6 lbs so we are very concerned about that and had a comprehensive blood panel done. According to that she is in perfect health: kidney, liver, thyroid function are great and she is not diabetic. We also had an ultrasound done and the vet couldn't find anything there either. She is eating well. The only other symptom is that her stool is very, very large. Not sure if that can have to do with anything but our vet just told us that she doesn't know and we should go to a pet emergency clinic (which we have already been to for the ultrasound.)

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JAX

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Tuxedo

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6 Months

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

I adopted a 6 month old cat from the animal shelter received some Care by Animal Samaritans. However I noticed while playing with the cat before I adopted & after must be gum disease:inflammation in the lower gums,surrounds growing tooth mid-gum. Missing fangs 1 side.lower teeth not developed. What to do?

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Mio

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Ocicat

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11 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Gum Swelling
Bleeding
Tooth Decay
Gum Inflamation

My cat is a street rescued cat. I found him around 11 years ago. Ever since I’ve found him his dental health have been deteriorating: he will bleed most of the days and if not his saliva would fall from his mouth. We had to take out a few teeth two separate times with veterinarian orders but not much changed (only that he didn’t belled that regularly as before). Now, he just lost his second fang yesterday and all his gums are super irritated. Thankfully he does not bleed anymore and his saliva problems have decreased. Yet, we never hada concrete answer of why this happened or how could we had solved it before having to take out most of his teeth (except his fangs (that are now falling by themselves))

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Bob

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English short hair

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11 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Tooth Loss.

Just noticed today my old boy has lost another canine but on the bottom of his mouth.. He losted his top one about a year ago.. He still eats well, grooms and isn't in any pain.. No swelling or bleeding of the gums either. He has been looked at and no problem can be found.. Is this normal or should I get a second opinion

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Bruce

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tabby

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9 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Missing Teeth

My 9 year old cat is missing 2-3 of the little teeth in between his bottom canines. He has been eating just fine and doesn't seem to be in any pain when I poked his gums lightly. How serious could this be?

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