Bruxism or Teeth grinding is seen to be a common condition in cats. Even though it is a common condition, it may not be termed as something normal for the cats. When you hear or watch your kitty grinding its teeth then you should be aware that something is not right. The grinding of the teeth in certain cases would sound more like clicking or chattering.
In a few instances, the grinding would be visible since you can notice the jaw moving side by side which is opposite to the up and down motion that is normally carried out while chewing food. Humans also grind their teeth and it is a bad habit. Some of the humans tend to grind unaware while they are asleep. In the case of cats when you notice such grinding of teeth then it means your cat is not fine and it is in pain.
There are various reasons for your kitty to start grinding its teeth. However, one of the common cause that has been associated with teeth grinding is pain or excruciating pain caused due to certain other medical issues. The pain can be caused due to abnormal tooth alignment that can lead to TMJ, inflammatory gum disorder, oral cancer or stomatitis. Let us go through each of the problems that can lead to cat teeth grinding.
This medical problem is also referred to as periodontal disease or gingivitis. In the United States alone more than 70 percent of the cats who are above 3 years of age are being affected with this medical issue.
The problem of gingivitis can affect either some or all of the deep supporting structure of the tooth. The conditions in kitty may normally begin from single tooth inflammation. When this dental problem is left unattended then it can gradually progress to a severe irreversible stage. It can lead to gum bleeding, missing or loss of teeth, a significant amount of bone loss, or pus from the gums.
This medical condition is serious and a painful disease that can affect any feline. This is known to be autoimmune in nature. In cats that are affected with stomatitis, the immune system is known to overreact to the plaque that gets collected around the teeth thus leading to inflammation of the mouth tissues. In certain cases, this medical condition can also occur on the back of the throat or the oral pharynx. Any underlying bone present in the mouth can also get affected or inflamed.
These are basically open sores found mostly on the gums or tongues of the kitty. An ulcer can be a symptom of any other medical condition including, systemic lupus erythematosus, uremic poisoning or feline herpes.
Trauma is said to be a leading cause of tooth fractures. The upper canine tooth tip is susceptible to fracture. It can mostly occur when your cat bites on something that is hard or jumps from a height thereby injuring its head.
Also referred to as malocclusion. This condition is commonly seen in Persians and Siamese cats normally due to their long and pointy faces. Some cats also tend to grow abnormally long fangs known as extrusion leading to tooth grinding. Cats can develop TMJ leading to tooth grinding and it would have difficulty in chewing any food item under normal circumstances.
Apart from the above dental conditions, oral tumors or cancer, dental abscesses, lodging of foreign material in the oral cavity are said to also be reasons for grinding of tooth.
There are certain abdominal diseases as well which can lead to tooth grinding in cats. Few of those include inflammatory bowel disease, Gastrointestinal ulcer, Pancreatic disease or Intestinal cancer.
If you suspect that your cat has been grinding its tooth for quite some time now, then you should be immediately visiting a vet. Remember that the cat would be in pain and the sooner you get the condition diagnosed, the better treatment can be started for making your feline feel good. The vet would carry out an oral examination of the cat for diagnosing the condition. In rare cases, they would need to carry out X-ray, CT scan or MRI. Few of them may also order for blood tests to correctly diagnose the condition.
The treatment provided by the vet should firstly involve an effective form of pain management to provide relief from the pain. In addition, the vet can start off with the medication to get the underlying cause resolved so that it does not occur again.
At home as well, you should ensure to maintain the good oral and physical health of your cat. Learn to brush the teeth of your kitty on a daily basis. Follow a balanced diet as advised by the vet. Since the cat chews the bone when in the raw diet then it helps to get rid of plaque or tartar present on the teeth. From time to time schedule regular appointments with the vet to carry out an oral examination.