Cat Dental Care

Maintaining oral health is equally important for your pet as it is for humans.

Dental care for your cat is very important to their overall health. A buildup of tartar over time can cause the gum line to recede and allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which could affect organ system function. Yearly check-ups are the best time to have to cats’ teeth assessed for any problems that you can’t see. An appointment with one of our vets can also be made for a dental consult.

What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?

Dental cleanings are done under general anesthetic. Once asleep, the veterinarian will visually assess and probe the teeth and record the findings on a dental chart. All the teeth are then scaled above the gumline, and we will also clean under the gum line to remove any buildup of tartar that has collected. Every dental has full mouth radiographs (x-rays) of each tooth. The radiography of all the teeth is done to look at the health of the roots which will help us identify if any teeth need to be extracted. Then all of the teeth are polished providing a smooth surface of the crowns of the teeth making it more difficult for the bacteria and plaque to adhere to the tooth surfaces.

What are the signs of dental problems in cats?

Some signs can be bad odour coming from the mouth, difficulties with chewing dry food, personality change such as sleeping more than usual and being less active. Some people may interpret these things as “getting old” or “slowing down,” but this could be a sign of dental pain. Cats are known to hide pain very well.

Are some feline breeds more susceptible than others?

Not directly, no. However, genetics can play a role in the health of the mouth and gums, and some shorter faced breeds have abnormal alignment of the teeth, which causes early dental disease. Some cats are more susceptible to tartar build up due to the amount of bacteria in their mouth.

What is feline tooth resorption?

Feline tooth resorption refers to the breakdown of the structures holding the tooth in place, and then the tooth itself. Feline Oral Resorptive Lesion (FORLs) occur in cats. Some cats are genetically predisposed to FORLs which means they can happen at any age. Some cats may never develop this issue, but for many cats, it may be a recurring problem. FORLs may look like an inflamed area on the gums, over the teeth. This inflammatory lesion can cause significant pain in your feline friend, which may affect their eating, behaviour and can lead to a serious oral infection.

When a tooth is involved, the tooth often starts to break down and become resorbed due to biological processes of inflammation in the body. The best way to diagnose a FORL or other oral health issue is an exam with your veterinarian. If FORL or another dental problem is detected, the best option is to have a dental procedure to remove the affected tooth with surgical extraction. Your veterinarian will also perform local blocks during the surgery as well as sending home pain relief and antibiotics if required.

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