As we know, the bone structure that is needed in the process of chewing food is the jaw. The entire vault of the mouth is referred to as the jaw. There is an upper and lower jaw. The Maxilla is the upper jaw and the mandible is the lower jaw.
Certain dogs or cats have problems with the alignment of the jaws. If the upper jaw protrudes it is called an overshot in dental terms or an overbite in layman terms. If the lower jaw protrudes it is called and undershot or under bite.
Persian cats are subject to teeth and jaw problems. Since Exotic Shorthairs have much of the same genotype as the Persian and Himalayan Cat, they too will suffer from same teeth and jaw problems. These cats can have crocked teeth, sometimes the baby teeth are crooked but the adult teeth will grow in normal which is straight.
They also suffer from a condition where the lower jaw, the mandible protrudes, meaning that it is longer than the top jaw, the Maxilla, and thus sticks out. This condition is known as asymmetrical Jaw, meaning that the jaws are not identical; one is longer than the other. As a result the teeth that are set in the bone stick out farther as well. A twisted mandible happens because the two jaws do not touch each other and the teeth may protrude outside of the lips. This condition can also cause the teeth to penetrate the roof of the mouth or jab or poke the gums in different places.
Problems Associated with Asymmetrical Jaw
If the jaws are not in alignment it can cause soft tissue trauma to the canines which are the four long, sharp, fang-like teeth surrounding the incisors. If the undershot, lower jaw asymmetry is so severe it may cause lip trauma as well.
Poorly aligned teeth can also have serious periodontal implications. These symptoms include:
Redness and inflammation in the teeth and gums because food gets trapped in between the teeth when they are not properly aligned. Again this is because the jaw is not properly aligned.
Damage to the soft tissue (soft tissue trauma) set in around the canines. The patient can have redness and inflamed gums, and even lesions in the soft tissue area as a result of the friction and pressure on the teeth. The canine teeth can also erode the palate and cause food to enter the nasal cavity.
Also the friction of abnormally aligned teeth rubbing against each other will eventually wear down the tooth enamel and cause breakage.
Trouble chewing or eating
Rubber bands, it is possible for a dentist to apply rubber bands to the cat's teeth to bring them back to normal alignment (normal occulation) also brackets, and other devices such as retainers can repair the damage.
Wiring the jaw is used to correct the asymmetry if the asymmetry was caused because of outside trauma, such as a fracture to the jaw due to an accident.
Fluoride treatment to strengthen tooth enamel
Although Asymmetrical Jaw Disorder is considered a genetic condition in Exotic Shorthairs and Persians other breeds of cats can either be born with it or have the condition as a result of the environment. For example a cat that has been injured in a car accident or was abused can end up with its jaw out of alignment.