Here are some amazing before and after photos of a cat that had their teeth cleaned at Forever Pet Dental.
Cat owners are often unaware of how important veterinary dental cleanings are for cats. Keeping your cat’s teeth clean can greatly reduce dental problems down the road. Cats build up tartar and get gingivitis just like dogs do and are prone to another dental disease called Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORLs). This disease is often called tooth resorption and involves erosion of the tooth layers. In general, the cause of this disease is unknown, but it affects up to 2/3 of domestic cats and can be painful. Veterinary dental cleanings are the best way to screen for these lesions. Treatment often involves the extraction of the affected teeth.
Dental disease is a reality for most cats. By age four, many cats have significant gingivitis, and many also have periodontal disease. It is a slow progressing but serious disease that causes pain and affects the cat's overall health and well-being. Cats often do not show signs of oral discomfort. Because the pain associated with dental problems comes on slowly over time, they simply learn to live with it. The best way to minimize these issues is for your cat is to start out with a great dental health routine at home. This should be supplemented with regular dental cleanings performed by veterinary professionals.
There are several ways to ensure proper cat dental care. All of them involve diligence and commitment from you as a cat owner. Your feline friend will not tell you that dental care is needed, so it is up to you to proactively address his or her needs.
Good nutrition is the foundation for good dental health
If possible, establish a tooth cleaning routine when your cat is young
Schedule annual exams with a veterinary professional
Watch for signs of possible dental issues such as bad breath
Tell your vet during the checkup about any behaviors you've noticed or concerns you have
Early prevention is extremely important for avoiding or treating serious dental issues
The Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) lists many cat diets and treats that can be helpful if your cat will not tolerate brushing (vohc.org). These approved diets and treats provide some supplemental dental care. However, just as humans require regular dental care to maintain proper dental health, it takes more than a chew toy to properly care for your feline companion's mouth, gums, and teeth.
The recommended frequency of cleaning your cat's teeth depends upon several factors such as:
Existence of other health conditions
Regardless of signs or symptoms, your cat should have a dental checkup annually at a minimum. While you should be looking at your cat's teeth periodically yourself, it is easy to miss signs that a trained and experienced veterinarian will pick up on. It is significantly easier to address and resolve dental issues that are spotted early compared to dental issues that go unnoticed and are allowed to further develop. For example, early gingivitis in cats can be completely reversible with anesthetic dental cleaning and at home oral care. Therefore, a proactive approach to feline dentistry is recommended.
Many cats will allow you to brush their teeth. You should brush your cat's teeth daily with specially designed brushes and feline hygiene products. Our technicians are trained to provide instructions on how you can brush your cat's teeth at home. Let us work with you to ensure the best possible dental health for your cat.
The cat dental care services provided here at Forever Pet Dental begin with an examination by one of our veterinarians. If dental issues are found in your cat's mouth, our veterinarian will explain the situation to you and recommend the appropriate dental procedure. During this procedure, once your cat is sedated, our veterinarians are able to conduct a more thorough exam including visualizing the entire oral cavity and throat area, probing gingival pockets to assess periodontal disease, and dental x-rays. It is important to remember that half of the tooth is under the gum line. Therefore, it is imperative that x-rays are performed to complete an assessment of the tooth.
Our veterinarians use a comprehensive 6-Step protocol when performing a standard cat dental treatment. This protocol can be amended depending upon factors including preexisting medical conditions, or based on information gleaned during the examination itself. However, for reference, our cat dental treatment protocol includes:
General anesthesia, which is necessary in all cases for us to do a thorough dental examination and professional cleaning. We use only the safest anesthesia protocols. Your cat will be monitored during the entire procedure and post-procedure for the safest and most comfortable experience.
A complete dental exam will be performed before we begin any dental procedure. Dental radiographs are taken at this time. Dental radiology allows our veterinarians to view the internal anatomy of the teeth including the roots and surrounding bone. A dental chart is used to record the dental health of your pet, and any procedures done during the dental cleaning.
Ultrasonic and hand scaling will remove plaque and tartar above and below the gum line. A thorough scaling below the gum line is critical to the success of any dental cleaning, as this is where illness-causing bacteria hide.
Polishing to smooth the surface of the teeth after scaling, making them resistant to additional plaque formation.
Flushing to remove dislodged tartar, plaque, and bacteria from the mouth.
If it is determined that an infected tooth requires extraction, or there is a problem with the gums that must be addressed, then and only then will oral surgery be recommended.
The most common reason for oral surgery in cats is extraction of a tooth. During an extraction, a gingival flap is created and the tooth is removed in its entirety. A post removal x-ray is performed to make sure that no pieces of the roots were left behind (unless there is severe tooth resorption). Cat tooth extraction is necessary in several cases, including advanced-stage gum disease. Advanced periodontal disease can cause loss of viable bone.
Other reasons for cat tooth extraction include:
Oral tumor removal or biopsy
Retained deciduous or maloccluded teeth are less common causes for extraction.
Dental caries, FORLs, or teeth that are severely infected are always considered for extraction.
Fractured teeth with nerve exposure, among others
The cost of cat tooth extraction is based on the type of procedure performed, and it may include hospitalization, anesthesia, painkiller medication, X-rays, and surgical supplies.
Mouth sores and ulcers
Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL)
And, as in humans, kidney, liver, and heart disease
Cats are very adept at hiding the symptoms of pain and illness. Bad breath is the only symptom of dental problems that you are at all likely to observe in your cat. If your cat has noticeable bad breath, you should schedule a dental exam with your veterinarian. However, in severe cases, you may also notice one of the following symptoms:
Pawing at the mouth
Problems eating, loss of appetite
Red, swollen, bleeding gums
Loose, broken, or missing teeth
Blood in saliva or nasal discharge
Lesions in the mouth
Your cat may very well have dental issues that require attention but NOT show any of the symptoms listed above. However, if any of the above symptoms are observed, please schedule a veterinary appointment right away.
There are always risks that come with any surgery, but the risks are very low thanks to the experienced veterinary team here at Forever Pet Dental. However, with proper care and supervision, there is very low risks of complications due to the use of a cat sedatives. Our veterinary staff ensures the risks are minimized by performing careful and consistent monitoring throughout the entire time our feline patients are under anesthesia.
The veterinary surgical team will monitor your cat very carefully during and after the dental is performed and throughout the time that they are under the influence of a cat sedative. During surgery, our veterinary staff will:
Monitor your cat’s heart rate, ECG, body temperature, blood pressure, oxygen levels, and carbon dioxide output levels
An IV catheter is in place to provide IV fluids and fluid support should there be any fluctuations in blood pressure
After the procedure your cat is monitored closely to make sure he/she is breathing well and resting comfortably. The IV catheter stays in to ensure IV access if needed.
*The risks of cat anesthesia are very low with proper monitoring.