Professional dental cleaning & oral care for your cat.
Caring for Your Cat’s Oral Health
Poor oral health can lead to other health problems. Bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel to other organs, such as the heart, kidneys, and lungs. Once lodged in these organs the bacteria can multiply and cause serious infections. Since systemic bacterial infections pose potentially life threatening conditions our doctors recommend starting all cats on antibiotics prior to any professional dental work.
The two most common dental ailments found in cats are periodontal disease and Tooth Resorption (TR).
Periodontal Disease – Professional Dental Cleaning & X-Rays
Any cat can be afflicted with periodontal disease regardless of age. With this disease, layers of plaque accumulate and harden on the tooth surface. Bacterial toxins and enzymes from the plaque cause the gums to become inflamed. If left untreated the gums worsen and begin to detach from the tooth surface creating periodontal pockets. As these pockets deepen, tartar forms along the root of the tooth causing the tooth to loosen. Tooth extraction is the only reasonable treatment option for teeth in this condition.
A professional dental cleaning involves removing the tartar from your cat’s teeth above and below the gum line using an ultrasonic scaler, probing all the teeth for periodontal pockets and/or resorptive lesions, polishing the teeth and, lastly, finishing with a chlorhexidine rinse.
Also included in every dental cleaning are x-rays. Dental x-rays are very helpful to truly find out what is going on in a cat’s mouth. Nearly half of all dental x-rays performed will reveal important information that would otherwise be missed by visual examination alone. Our modern veterinary dental x-ray equipment provides us with a proper diagnosis and therefore, better dental care for your beloved furry friend.
Tooth Resorption (TR)
Tooth Resorption (TR) or resorptive lesions can also be referred to as Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL) or Cervical Neck Lesions (CNL). TR is relatively common, affecting an estimated 50% of cats. TR is extremely painful and causes loss of tooth function. During oral examination, resorptive lesions are often evident by a cavity-like hole in the tooth at the gum line. The lesions are often covered with locally inflamed gum tissue. Sometimes, in the early stages they may only be discovered by dental x-ray.
TR cause irreparable damage to the tooth, therefore, the only treatment option is extraction. Cats are very good at hiding oral pain, so it is very common for these lesions to be discovered only upon veterinary examination.
In order to perform a thorough oral exam and dental cleaning, your cat must be placed under a full general anesthetic. As with all anesthetic procedures, your cat will be placed on intravenous fluids as well as heart, blood pressure and respiration monitors. Your cat will be wrapped in warm towels and will be lying on a pet warming mat to ensure that your cat’s body temperature is properly maintained throughout the procedure. If an extraction is necessary, the doctor will prescribe pain control medication and will do complimentary post-procedure reassessments until your cat’s mouth is sufficiently healed.