Cat Dental Care

We brush our teeth to keep our teeth clean. Cats in the wild “brush their teeth” when they hunt. Our cats who live with us need us to help care for their teeth since they eat prepared food which does not help to clean their teeth. The build up of plaque and tartar which causes ‘dirty teeth’ places our cat’s health at risk.

What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?

For a cat to have a dental procedure they require a general anesthetic. That means they need to be fasted and dropped off for a morning admit time. Once in the hospital, they are examined and an IV catheter is placed. After that, they are given a premedication which includes a pain medication and a sedative. When they are ready they are given an induction agent which puts them in a sleepy state so they can be intubated. Once intubated they are hooked up to oxygen and general anesthetic gas. They are then hooked up to a monitoring equipment. Once sleeping, pictures are taken of their teeth, then the technician will clean every tooth above the gumline, once finished, dental radiographs are taken of every tooth. The doctor examines the x-rays and then will chart (measure the pockets around each tooth) once that is complete the doctor will know if there are any extractions needed. If there are extractions needed the owner will receive a phone call to discuss, then the doctor will proceed with extractions. Once finished, or if no extractions are needed, the doctor will clean every tooth below the gumline. Then the technician will polish each tooth, take pictures, give pain medication and then wake up the patient

What are signs of dental problems in cats?

Sometimes it is hard to notice dental problems in cats. They are very stoic and hide their pain very well. Some subtle signs would be bad breath, or chewing different than they use to. If progressed far enough they may only eat canned food and drool. The best way to know if your cat has a dental disease is to have them checked by a veterinarian annually.

Are some breeds more susceptible than others?

Purebred cats tend to be more susceptible to dental disease, but all cats can be affected by a dental disease at some point in their lives.

What is feline tooth resorption?

Feline resorptive lesions are a common problem in cats. The tooth will start to resorb starting at the enamel then the dentin and then to the pulp cavity.


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