Cat dental care can involve at-home care, such as brushing the teeth. Care in our hospital requires general anesthesia to get a full evaluation of the mouth.
As I said, brushing their teeth is a good way to start. Usually, I try to have people start brushing their cat's teeth when they're kittens so that they get used to it.
That's a good question. A lot of times, what we'll see is cats that have bad breath. You may see redness along the gum, and there may be loose teeth. Sometimes they'll drool, paw at their face, or eat only on one side of their mouth. Those are the key things we look for.
Diagnosing dental problems in cats requires general anesthesia so that we can fully evaluate both the outside and inside of the teeth and dental radiographs that allow us to evaluate for problems underneath the gum line.
Yes. Cats have a unique condition called resorptive lesions, as we call them, which are kind of like cavities where the teeth start to erode. This can be a very painful condition, and these teeth require extraction. There are other things as well. They can have periodontal disease, which involves bone loss secondary to bacterial infection and subsequent tooth loss. They can get gingivitis, and of course, they can also have tumors and cancers in their mouth that we try to screen for when we have them fully under anesthesia.
Bacteria that spread from the mouth can go to any part of the body. In fact, some of our founding fathers, like John Adams and George Washington, had lots of medical problems secondary to bad dental health. That same condition actually carries over into our little feline friends.
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