If you noticed your kitty's tooth came out, don't worry, this is normal. Kittens lose their baby teeth, just like we do. While this process usually poses little to no difficulty for a kitten, it's good to be aware that the transition is taking place. That way, you can watch for any problems, such as sore gums or retained baby teeth, and address them as needed.
Kitten Teething Timeline and What to Expect
Kittens lose their baby teeth between 3 and 4 months old. Kitten teeth fall out in a set pattern, so if you notice your kitten is losing their teeth, don't be concerned. This average timeline will help you understand the process for kittens losing teeth.
|Kitten Age||Teething Milestone|
|3 to 6 weeks||Baby or "milk" teeth come in.|
|3 to 4 months||Baby teeth fall out as adult teeth come in.|
|6 months||Full set of adult teeth have come in.|
3 to 6 Weeks Old: Milk Teeth Grow
A kitten's first set of teeth is known as primary teeth or "milk teeth." This first set has 26 teeth, which begin erupting through the gums around 3 weeks of age, and they are typically all visible by the time a kitten is 6 weeks old.
The first teeth you will see coming out of a kitten's gums are the front incisors. These will be followed by their canine teeth, which should be visible when a kitten is 1 month old. Finally, at 6 weeks, the premolars will be visible.
3 and 4 Months Old: Kittens Lose Baby Teeth
Somewhere between 3 and 4 months old, a kitten begins shedding their primary teeth as the adult teeth begin pushing through the gums behind them. You may be able to see a permanent tooth coming in right behind the corresponding loose primary tooth, since these two processes of erupting and shedding happen almost simultaneously. While there is no set order regarding which teeth are shed first, the incisors are often the first to fall out, followed by the fangs or canines.
Kittens start teething at 3 months old when their adult teeth begin growing in.
6 Months Old: Adult Set of Teeth Are Complete
By the time a kitten reaches 6 months old, the full set of permanent adult teeth has usually replaced the primary teeth completely. This new set has 30 teeth, including four molars. The process for adult teeth coming in is much the same as with kitten teeth, as the incisors will be the first to come in, and it usually starts when the kitten is around 3½ to 4 months old.
Signs a Kitten Has Sore Gums
Typically, a kitten's transition from primary to permanent teeth usually goes fairly smoothly, but there are a couple of things to watch out for. Just as with human babies, teething can irritate a kitten's gums. While your kitten is teething, you may notice:
- Your kitten begins chewing a lot more, especially on inappropriate items like shoes, furniture, and bedding.
- They may drool, because the pressure of the permanent teeth pressing against the small roots of the primary teeth signals their system to begin dissolving the primary roots so it can shed more easily.
- You might notice bleeding of the gums or pink-tinged saliva.
- The kitten may also paw at their mouth or rub their face against other objects more than usual.
- They may even become reluctant to eat if their gums feel particularly painful.
Teething pain in kittens is usually fairly minimal, but your kitten's gums might be sore or sensitive during this period.
Help a Teething Kitten
If you notice any of these signs and your kitten is between 3 and 4 months old, they are likely teething. They will feel better once those baby teeth have come out and the tips of the adult teeth break through the gums, but you can help soothe their sensitive gums with these tips:
- Make sure your kitten has soft chew toys they can use to help the tooth-shedding process along.
- You can offer them a clean washcloth soaked in cold water to chew on with supervision.
- Some kittens like licking or chewing on ice cubes made of low-sodium chicken broth to provide their gums with relief.
- You can feed wet food rather than dry because wet food is easier to chew. Add dry kitten food back into their diet once the worst of the teething is over.
Watch for Retained Baby Teeth
Sometimes a baby tooth remains in place even though the adult tooth has completely erupted through the gums. This is known as a retained primary tooth or deciduous tooth, and it can crowd the permanent teeth and interfere with their correct placement. Nonaligned teeth can damage other permanent teeth as well as the gums and roof of the mouth.
In some cases, the retained tooth may eventually come out on its own, but a veterinarian might need to remove the primary tooth if it shows no sign of loosening. Although looking in a kitten's mouth is easier said than done, try to take a look and consult your vet if you still see a retained primary tooth after your kitten turns 6 months old. Your vet can examine the kitten and decide if the tooth truly needs to be removed, or if it's safe to wait a while longer.
Begin brushing your kitten's teeth as early as possible to get them used to the experience and make it a habit.
Healthy Teeth, Happy Life
A healthy set of permanent teeth ensures your pet can eat without any problems. Keeping an eye on their progress as they shed the first set of baby teeth will help you spot any issues as they arise, which can keep problems to a minimum. It's also a good idea to have your vet examine your pet's teeth annually to make sure they remain healthy throughout their entire life.