Worn Teeth in Cats

Tooth Attrition

Cats are tough on their teeth. Because of this, your pet’s teeth could start to show wear and tear as he ages. Some tooth wear is expected, but in some situations the wear can be extreme, resulting in an abnormal loss of the top layer of the teeth. This is called attrition.

For cats, the most common teeth to be affected are the incisors.

As the teeth wear down, the tooth’s pulp (or root) can become exposed. The body prevents this by covering the root with a protective layer called dentin, which appears as a dark spot in the middle of the tooth.

If your cat suffers from severely worn teeth, you most likely will notice the wear and tear when he “smiles,” exposing his teeth. Additionally, sometimes pain is associated with worn teeth.
While a worn-down tooth may not pose serious health problems for your cat, other more dangerous oral conditions could exist. Routine visits to your veterinarian are very important, and an oral exam can identify issues such as broken teeth, oral tumors, periodontal disease, stomatitis, and other problems that pose a much more serious health risk. In fact, dental problems are among the most common issues seen in cats.1 

Unfortunately, there is no prevention for attrition. Routine oral exams will help your veterinarian monitor your pet’s teeth and keep an eye out for other more serious oral problems. To learn more about your cat’s oral health, watch the video Cleaner Teeth, Healthier Cat.

For more information, talk with your veterinarian—your key resource for information about the health and well-being of your best friend.




1.  Carmichael DT. Feline dental problems. DVM Newsmagazine. June 1, 2004.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


Reviewed on: 
Thursday, June 5, 2014