Pouncing, chasing, chewing, or grooming may be a part of your cat’s routine. But what about dental care? The most common mouth diseases that cats experience are Periodontal Disease and Tooth Resorption. When contemplating whether or not to take your friendly feline to the dentist, here is what you need to know.
Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria forms plaque on the surface of the teeth. Minerals within the saliva then harden into tartar which slips underneath the gum line. Although 85% of cats experience Periodontal Disease by the time they are 6, it is preventable with professional and at-home dental care. Untreated, it can lead to gingivitis, loss of bone & tissue around the teeth, or even total tooth loss.
Common Dental Diseases for Cats
Tooth Resorption (or Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions) is experienced by about 50% of adult cats. Although professionals are unsure what causes it, we know that it breaks down the material of the teeth and disintegrates the roots and crown. Untreated, this can lead to the extraction of the affected teeth.
Although at-home care is vital to cat dental health, it isn’t enough. Most cats benefit significantly from professional care to keep a healthy mouth and prevent diseases. As with humans, cats can experience significant pain and discomfort when facing dental issues. However, they can be sneaky about hiding their pain, so it is important to pay attention to the warning signs.
Signs that your cat may need a professional cleaning include:
Let’s say you’ve decided to take your pet to the dentist. What can you expect?
First, your veterinarian will most likely have you detail your pet’s dental history. They will perform an examination notating their observations. They may also suggest other blood and organ tests, particularly for older cats.
Next, your vet may use anesthesia to prevent your pet from experiencing any pain. The anesthesia is used so that the veterinarian can take X Rays of your cat’s mouth. X Rays are advised for most patients to see below the gum line.
After the X Rays, your cat’s teeth will have a cleaning. Much like a trip to the human dentist, the teeth will be cleaned and polished both above and below the gum line. To finish, a protective sealant can be used to prevent further disease or damage.
Upon returning home, continued dental maintenance is suggested. Post cleaning, you can even use a Q-tip soaked in tuna water applied along the gum line to maintain proper oral care. Professional cleaning is recommended every 1 to 2 years after that. Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat!