Why regular dental care is important for my cat and what is involved?
Cats are very prone to plaque buildup and dental tartar. This accumulation commonly leads to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and mouth pain. Periodontal disease is also prevalent in cats over the age of three. Oral infection due to dental disease may lead to other organs in your cat’s body. Genetic issues should be caught as early as possible to prevent unnecessary damage to the oral cavity.
Home Preventative Care:
1.) How to brush your cat’s teeth: Make teeth brushing a pleasant time for your cat. Use toothpaste specially formulated for animals. Do NOT use human toothpaste or baking powder because they contain ingredients that should not be swallowed. Start slowly- allow your cat to lick the toothpaste off your finger, it comes in many animal friendly flavors (chicken, etc.) We recommend not approaching your cat from the front as this can appear aggressive to them. Try sitting with them in your lap facing away from you. Practice holding your cat and touching their chin and cheeks to get them used to being manipulated in that manner. Once the cat is accustomed to the toothpaste and face handling start using the toothbrush and paste just under the gum a little bit. Don’t expect to brush their whole mouth at once the first time. Work up to that slowly and respectfully. Focus on brushing the back molars if you can.
2.) Use oral cleansing solution or gel. These products are flavorless and can be effective in the prevention or gingivitis or periodontal disease.
3.) Use Oratene in your cat’s drinking water. This is a good oral antiseptic that helps reduce plaque and tartar buildup.
4.) Bring your cat to the veterinarian regularly (at least once a year.) The doctor not only performs a dental checkup at your cat’s annual physical, but can also diagnosis and treat internal disease that can contribute to dental problems.
Dental Rads First!
Feline extractions should not be attempted without preoperative dental radiographs. Tooth resorption may occur in varied manifestations, and the approach to treatment depends on the radiographic appearance of the affected tooth.
Tooth resorption in cats is commonly external tooth resorption starting on the root surface, resulting in focal tooth resorption where the crown meets the root, often referred to as Type 1 resorption.
Teeth affected by Type 1 resorption require extraction, and these extractions can be challenging because in some areas, the tooth may be “spot welded” to the surrounding alveolar bone.
Type 2 external resorption is seen on radiographs as root replacement resorption, in which the radiographic density of the root is much less than that of an unaffected root, approximating the density of bone rather than normally dense root structure.
In some cases, Type 2 root resorption can be so severe that the roots of a tooth are no longer present.
BY JOHN LEWIS, VMD, FAVD, DIPL. AVDC (Veterinary Practice news)
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contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Cats Exclusively Veterinary Hospital 1311 Marsh Road Pittsford NY 14534 (585)248-9590 Updated for July 2017