Pet Dental Care: Discover How to Protect Your Kitty's Teeth
More than 50% of adult cats over the age of 3 have some degree of dental disease. Whether it's gingivitis, tartar build-up, gum disease, or tooth resorption, the impact on your kitty's overall health could be quite serious. Just as with humans, if bacteria from an oral infection spreads into the bloodstream, it could cause irreparable damage to major organs. That's why at The Feline Medical Center, we believe in educating our clients about the benefits of maintaining good oral health for their pets.
Signs of Feline Dental Trouble
Cats instinctively hide their pain from others, so it's not always obvious when they have a health problem. While most dental problems go undetected by owners, the following are a few symptoms that your feline may be showing you that could indicate the presence of a dental issue that needs to be addressed:
- The cat exhibits a sudden decrease in appetite.
- While eating, the kitty drops pieces of food out of his or her mouth.
- The cat purposely avoids eating dry, crunchy food.
- The kitty repeatedly rubs his or her face with a paw or tilts his or her head when eating.
Most dental issues are discovered through regular oral exams. When you bring your cat in for a feline preventive care exam, our veterinarians will carefully inspect your kitty's teeth, gums, and mouth. If your cat is healthy, then preventive measures, such as brushing your cat's teeth and providing feline dental chews, will be discussed. Should treatment be required, our veterinarians will carefully review the best course of action. The earlier a problem is detected and treated, the less painful it will be for the patient.
Feline Tooth Resorption
One condition that is quite common among adult cats is feline tooth resorption. While the cause of this painful malady is still undetermined, it is known to affect more than 50% of cats over the age of 3. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, it is the second most common oral problem after periodontal disease.
Tooth resorption appears as a red area on the side of the tooth or gum and is typically found along the gum line. As the condition progresses, erosion of the tooth's enamel takes place, followed by the dentin, and eventually the pulp. Removal of the affected tooth is usually the best course of action. To learn more about this painful oral condition, please read this informative Veterinary Information Network article.
Cat Teeth Cleaning
After a thorough oral exam has been completed and it is determined that a cleaning is necessary, an appointment for the procedure will be scheduled. Our veterinarians and staff are highly skilled at feline dentistry, so rest assured that your kitty will be in good hands.
Anesthesia is required for the procedure, so you will receive instructions regarding feeding restrictions the night before surgery. In addition, our veterinarians will conduct a complete blood profile to ensure that your cat's organ systems are healthy and able to metabolize the anesthesia. For additional information about the special precautions we take with regard to anesthesia, please visit our veterinary surgery page.
Once the patient has been anesthetized, our veterinarians and staff will be:
- Scaling the teeth to remove tartar above and below the gum line. This is completed via a combination of hand-held instruments and an ultrasonic dental unit.
- Polishing to smooth the surface of the teeth, making them resistant to additional plaque formation.
- Irrigating the oral cavity with an antibacterial rinse to remove dislodged tartar and accompanying bacteria.
- Conducting a thorough examination of the teeth and oral cavity to detect any dental disease and gingival pockets that may be hidden by the tartar.
- Administering a fluoride coating to decrease teeth sensitivity, strengthen enamel, and decrease future plaque formation.
- Applying OraVet, a sealant that bonds to the enamel surface to prevent bacteria and plaque from adhering to the tooth surface.
In addition, our veterinarians will take X-rays to identify any potential problems below the gum line. Our hospital is equipped with high-quality digital dental imaging equipment, which allows us to view the images immediately and take appropriate action.
If you have any questions about dental cleanings or oral care for your kitty, please don't hesitate to contact us. We are happy to help in any way we can!