Dentistry For Your Pet
All of us know about the benefits of routine dental care for ourselves. Daily brushing and flossing, and regular visits to the dentist, keep our teeth and gums healthy and comfortable. Unfortunately, routine dental care is still an often neglected item of dog and cat general health care. Your pets, as well as yourselves, deserve regular dental care. Let’s learn more about cat dental care.
After your cat reaches a few years of age, plaque begins to build up at the junction of the gums and teeth. With time this plaque hardens into tartar. If this tartar is not removed, it increases causing inflammation to the adjacent gum or gingivitis, which can result in loss of gum tissue. This allows bacteria to come into contact with the underlying tissues and eventual destruction of bone. We call this process periodontal disease. If this situation is not soon remedied, severe gum infections, abscessed teeth, and cheek ulcers, and eventually loss of the tooth will occur. You may become aware of this problem by noting that your cat has a bad odor to his or her breath, is not eating food as well as previously, or is experiencing weight loss.
Chronic infections of the teeth and gums can also result in problems elsewhere in the body. Bacteria enter the bloodstream from the infected gum tissue and can cause infection in organs such as the liver, the kidneys, the heart, and the joints. Good dental care lengthens pets’ lives an average of 10 – 20% through the prevention of these secondary problems.
Cats are Prone to Gingivitis
Cats are especially prone to gingivitis and Feline Oral Resorptive Lesions, (FORL’s), a painful type of tooth decay that occurs at the gum line and eventually destroys the tooth. As a result of mouth pain, cats may stop eating and show weight loss and nutritional disturbances.
Dental Care Cat Food
You can help prevent dental problems in your pets by feeding dry cat food. Daily or even weekly brushing of your cat’s teeth with a toothpaste made for pets will also help prevent tartar buildup. C.E.T. cat chews are fibrous editable treats that can be given to cats to assist with this as well.
Cat Dental Exams
Just as with people, your cat will still require regular dental exams and cleanings (prophylaxis). Under general anesthesia, the teeth are examined and probed for gum loss and pockets and for the presence of FORL’s. Dental radiographs of individual teeth or the entire mouth may be required to further assess the degree of periodontal disease. The teeth are cleaned of tartar by use of an ultrasonic dental scaler (uses water and rapid sound waves) much like the one your own dentist uses, and then polished. Polishing smoothes the surface of the teeth to help discourage future tartar formation.
Other more advanced procedures such as root canal work, restorations, and even braces are also available should your cat ever need them by Board Certified Veterinary Dentists. We encourage you to be concerned about your pet’s oral health and to keep in mind the availability of effective treatments for dental problems in your cat. Make dentistry a part of your pet’s total health care plan, for longer and happier life.