Susu's Tale of Two Too Many Teeth!
February 8, 2021
Susu is a little black cat I adopted as a kitten from a feral mom. I lovingly call him my “dirt baby” in homage to his humble, country roots. Because he consumes the lion’s share of the paté cat food served to him, he is also my “pork bun.” This story, however, is about the time his teeth briefly earned him the moniker, “Dracula.”
Around 6-8 months of age, a cat has replaced all their deciduous (baby) teeth with a full set of adult teeth, thirty in total. These sharp, pointed teeth are perfected for hunting. Four canines are impressive stabbers and piercers. Ten premolars and four molars rip, tear, and slice flesh. Twelve teeny tiny incisors are located at the front of a cat’s mouth. These are clearly the most adorable teeth! Incisors cut food and help groom fur and nails.
When Susu settled up with the kitty tooth fairy, he was in for more than he bargained for: Susu grew two extra incisors! Was my kitten a vampire?
Supernumerary teeth have been documented in both domestic and wild cats. They are random anomalies. But what does this mean for your cat if your veterinarian discovers extra teeth at their wellness visit? There’s simply not enough room in their mouth. The extra teeth usually crowd and push around the surrounding teeth. This disrupts the gum’s physical barrier to bacteria, creating hidden pockets where infection sets in. With time, supernumerary teeth usually cause painful periodontal disease. We, veterinarians, find supernumerary teeth typically in young cats and will recommend an exam under anesthesia.
With help from a veterinary dentist, I anesthetized Susu for dental X-rays and surgery when he was only one year old. We extracted the teeth with advanced infection. The rest of the teeth were thankfully healthy and got a good cleaning and polishing.
At Cats Exclusive, we want each of our patients to have a comfortable mouth. While our house cats don’t particularly need the weapons they were born with, they are still primal creatures at heart, even if they are mostly sinking their teeth into catnip toys, cardboard boxes, and...packets of cheese? Oh, Susu...