Although the shape maybe different, the teeth have the same makeup. The innermost part is the pulp or root canal which contains blood vessels and nerves. Around the canal is the dentin. The visible portion is the crown which is covered by enamel. The periodontal ligament attaches the roots to the jawbone. The gingiva is the gum tissue.
A cat has two sets of teeth. The deciduous teeth or first teeth are incisors, canines and premolars. These are replaced by permanent teeth and molars emerge in the back of the jaw. It takes 5 to 6 months for a cat to grow its permanent teeth.
A cat can experience growth problems resulting in weakness in the dental structure, tooth decay and difficulty in chewing. If the deciduous teeth do not fall out as the permanent teeth are forming, early dental disease can develop.
Tartar and plaque can form on the teeth causing an inflammation of the gums. This can create bacteria in the mouth spreading infection through the body. If the bone and surrounding gum is damaged, the cat can have periodontal disease. Painful abysses and tooth loss may result if untreated. A cat can suffer from tooth resorptions, cavity like defects, which usually require extraction.
Bad breath, chattering, drooling, eating sparsely or not at all or a swelling in the cheek may be a sign of a dental problem. A veterinarian will be able to examine and diagnose the problem. He can also provide a thorough dental cleaning but this usually requires the cat to be anesthetized.
A daily two minute brushing at home can help reduce the plaque and tartar. Use a cat toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. Oral rinses, water additives and dental diets are other ways to keep a cat's teeth healthy.
Frank Loethen lives with his wife and three cats, Sunny, Sinclair and Midnite, in Georgia. My wife and I recently added a new member to the house. A long haired chihuahua from a rescue shelter. If you enjoyed this article, please visit my cat products website, [http://purrfectcatproducts.com/], your one stop site for all your cat and kitten needs. Cat food, cat toys, litter accessories and cat treats are among the many items on the site. You can also see my three cats on the site.
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