Dental disease is probably the most common and undertreated disease we see at our hospital. Dental pain can be underestimated since the disease usually progresses slowly, without your cat showing you that he/she is uncomfortable. Regular dental cleanings and home care (like a special dental diet) can help keep your cat’s teeth healthy and pain-free!
What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?
Unfortunately, our cats will not open and say “ah” for us to clean their teeth! As a result, all cats are placed under general anesthesia for their dental treatments. The procedure is very similar to having your own teeth cleaned, we use different gels and rinses to keep the bacteria count down and then clean, scale and polish all the teeth. Each tooth is probed for periodontal disease. We recommend all cats having full mouth dental radiographs during the procedure to identify any lesions under the gum line, especially resorptive lesions.
What are signs of dental problems in cats?
Many cats will not show you any signs of dental problems until they are very far advanced. However, you may notice some bad breath, pawing at the mouth, holding their head sideways when they chew, eating less dry kibble or only wanting canned food (because chewing hurts!). Some cats will also show sensitivity when you touch them around the mouth area.
Are some feline breeds more susceptible than others?
Any breed of cat can have dental disease. There have been examples of littermates where one has perfect teeth and the other needs a lot of dental treatment. Dental concerns are one of the reasons we recommend an annual examination of your cat. Problems can start at a young age. The more preventative health care we can do for your cat’s teeth, the more chance of your cat being able to keep all his/her teeth for their entire life!
What is feline tooth resorption?
Feline tooth resorption is a painful condition when the structure of the tooth starts to dissolve. These can essentially cause a hole or defect in the crown of the tooth that can extend into the pulp chamber which results in a great deal of pain once the nerve of the tooth is exposed. We don’t understand why some cats get these lesions and others don’t. In almost all cases, the preferred treatment is to remove the tooth causing the pain.