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Cat Dental Care

Cats can often have problems with their teeth. Tartar, caries, and gingivitis can cause pain and bad breath (halitosis).

What is involved in a dental cleaning procedure?


Dental cleanings are completed under general anesthesia. The pet has a breathing tube in their airway supplying oxygen and anesthetic gas. They are monitored for changes in blood pressure, breathing and heart rate, and IV fluids are supplied. The technician cleans the teeth using a special ultrasonic scaler and then polishes them to remove any nicks or grooves in the enamel. The veterinarian checks all the teeth for mobility, caries, and root exposure. If extractions are necessary, they are performed, and the gum tissue sutured. The kitty is recovered from the anesthetic and goes home later in the day.

What are signs of dental problems in cats?


Signs of dental problems include difficulty chewing, bad breath, drooling, pawing at the mouth, and red or bleeding gums. Some cats have no obvious symptoms at home but may have a mouthful of decaying teeth on the exam.

Are some breeds more susceptible than others?


Abyssinians, Oriental breeds such as Siamese, and Persians seem to be more prone to problems.

What is feline tooth resorption?


Tooth resorption results in the loss of tooth structure. The lesions begin as a loss of tooth enamel and can spread to deeper within the tooth. They appear as small divots, often along the gum line, on the tooth. They are very painful when probed gently. The cause of these resorptions is unknown. Treatment generally involves extraction of the affected tooth.

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