Do cats lose their baby teeth? Do they need to be removed?
Original Question: Jasper my cat still has 2 baby teeth alongside his adult teeth on both sides at the front. The vet is watching them but is suggesting surgery to remove the baby teeth. Will these teeth fall out if I avoid surgery? At what age should a cat have lost all their baby teeth? If not abscessed can the teeth remain? - Maureen
Thanks for your question.
These are called retained deciduous teeth. This is very common in small breed dogs, but less common in cats however it does happen. The baby teeth are supposed to naturally fall out at 6 months of age.
If they stay in, they can cause the adult teeth to take on an improper position in the mouth as they erupt through the gingiva. If they are improperly positioned, then the mouth may not close properly and it could be painful. Furthermore, the presence of the baby teeth will cause debris to lodge between the teeth resulting in more rapidly advancing dental disease and can necessitate more frequent dental cleanings. For this reason, veterinarians will commonly recommend that the baby teeth are extracted while they are under general anesthetic for their spay or neuter procedure.
Spay and neuter procedures are priced much lower than standard surgical fees for other procedures. Adding on a couple of tooth extractions to a low-cost anesthetic makes it very economical to deal with. Any time I ever spayed or neutered a cat or dog, I always checked for retained teeth and with permission, took the opportunity at that time to remove them. If you don’t do it and teeth remain, it is very costly to do another anesthetic with tooth extractions because typically standard rates apply instead of the low-cost spay/neuter rate and therefore, it is much more expensive.
Unfortunately, the proper recommendation is to have these baby (deciduous) teeth extracted. More, unfortunately, is that it wasn’t previously performed, unless your pet was never spayed or neutered, which means that you’ll need to have a general anesthetic performed to accomplish this treatment. Your dog is young and healthy and after performing pre-anesthetic bloodwork, a physical exam and any other testing your veterinarian recommends, I suspect that there will be no concerns with the procedure.
I hope this helps.
Dr. Clayton Greenway
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