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Cat Dental Care

Did you know that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have oral disease by age 3? When you consider that we brush twice a day and still see a dentist twice a year, it isn’t a surprise that dental health is essential for every cat! It is their most often diagnosed health problem. We know that poor dental health leads to infection in the mouth. It not only causes pain and lack of appetite, but it can also be detrimental to other parts of the body, such as the liver, heart, and kidneys, causing serious disease.

What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?

If your cat has bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, or other dental problems, we can help. A complete dental cleaning is required if your pet already has dental disease. It involves an evaluation of the oral cavity and cleaning of not only the surface of the teeth, but also underneath the gumline where the majority of bacteria and tartar are found. After the teeth are cleaned, they are polished, which smooths the rough surface created by the cleaning. Without polishing, these irregular surfaces allow bacteria and plaque to adhere more easily and accelerate the recurrence of dental disease. Next, an antibacterial solution is flushed below the gum line to remove any debris that collected after the scaling and polishing. Lastly, the entire mouth is rechecked, and digital dental x-rays may be used to assess the extent of the dental disease and the need for tooth extractions or additional work. Even though most people can tolerate and sit through a thorough dental cleaning, pets can’t. The only way to perform a complete dental cleaning in pets is by using general anesthesia. During the procedure, a registered veterinary technician continually assesses your pet’s vital signs, and we use several monitoring devices during your pet’s anesthetic.

What are the signs of dental problems in cats?

Cats are true hunters and predators, so it can be difficult to know if your cat already has dental disease. During your cat’s annual exam, we will do our best to look for signs of any oral health problems. At home, some behaviours you may notice are not eating/decreased appetite, drooling, bad breath, tilting their head when eating, or small bits of kibble left behind when your cat bites the kibble and drops pieces due to pain. If you have any concerns about your pet’s oral health, it is best to let our dedicated team help.

Are some feline breeds more susceptible than others?

Certainly, any breed with a smaller nose can be more susceptible, as there is just less space for the teeth to be and with overcrowding comes the risk of dental disease. However, every cat is different, and oral health care is important for all of them.

What is feline tooth resorption?

Feline tooth resorption is the correct medical term for what many people call “kitty cavities”. These painful lesions occur when the tooth-root surfaces are destroyed and the enamel resorbs, exposing pulp and nerves. As these lesions are painful, we recommend treatment as soon as possible. In most patients, this will require the extraction of the affected tooth. If your cat has these lesions, your veterinarian will help you determine which treatment option is best for you and your pet.