Everything You Need To Know About Cat Dentistry
Reagan, CVT, answers some questions about dentistry on our feline friends:
How does dental health impact the overall health and well-being of my cat?
Cat dental care is so important! A dirty mouth allows bacteria to invade your kitty's blood stream: once that bacteria is in the blood stream, it goes to all the organs that the blood passes through. Just like dirty hose water carries all the gross things that lived inside the hose, same concept in the kitty! Now there is bacteria in your kitty's vital organs, affecting liver, kidney and heart functions over time! Also, sore gums, loose teeth and fracture teeth hurt!
What types of dental care should I be giving our cat at home?
Nothing will ever replace brushing your cat's teeth! We can even show you how to brush your cat's teeth. Using CET tooth paste and a soft bristle tooth brush and brushing once a day would be my dream for every pet parent. I know this can't happen sometimes so using Dental Treats, Kibbles that are made specifically for the mechanical action of removing plaque and water additives are helpful!
What are some signs and symptoms of issues with oral health in my cat?
Drooling, bleeding gums, foul breath and decreased appetite all can indicate a dental issue. Sometimes there are loose teeth (especially the teeny, tiny front teeth and very back molars) and you would never know! Cat's can also get these lesions (holes in the enamel) called resorptive lesions, that are super painful because if they are severe enough they directly expose the nerve of the tooth.
How do veterinarians diagnose dental problems in cats?
During a detailed physical exam, the Doctor will stage you cat's dental disease on a scale of 1-4. Cat teeth can sometime be deceiving because the front teeth look great, but the molars are far back in the mouth and cat's sometimes don't appreciate a great look back there. A stage 1 dental score means that there are no issues at all with the teeth! Stage 2 means that there is minor gingivitis and plaque/tarter, maybe some hidden issues under the gum line but we still have a chance at reversing the damage done! Stage 3 means that there is major gingivitis, heavy tarter and plaque, maybe some noticeable loose teeth, infections at the gum line, maybe even some missing teeth and possibly we will need to extract some teeth. Stage 4 dental disease means there are severe changes to the gums because of gingivitis, painful/loose teeth, some may or may not already be missing, and heavy tarter. The damage is done in this stage, and often times we can't save teeth that could have been saved when they were a stage 1 or 2.
Once your cat has a dental stage, passes his or her blood work, we can move on to the dental. Under full anesethia, a trained technician will clean, scale, polish and asses each tooth on its own. Full mouth radiographs are taken, and the doctor also assess the teeth, and evaluates the radiographs. What ever tooth has a negative impact on your cat's health, whether it is loose, fractured, infected or causing a issue, the doctor will remove it and suture the gums after it's removal. "After" radiographs are taken after each tooth removal to ensure the tooth, roots and area surrounding the removed tooth are clean and free of boney debris. There is a TON of things that happen during a dental procedure to make sure everything is as safe as possible.
If you have any questions regarding your cat's dental care, give us a call at (602)843-5452! We want to make sure your furry friend is as healthy as possible and prober dental care is a huge component in cat wellness!