What is involved in cat dental care?

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.

Dr. William Sean Penn
Horizon Animal Hospital

Are there any types of dental care I should be giving to my cat at home?

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.

What are some signs and symptoms of issues if my cat has oral health problems?

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.

How do you diagnose dental problems in cats?

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.

Are there any conditions that felines are prone to?

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.

What are possible conditions caused by poor dental care, and what can we do to treat them?

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.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (480) 614-9500, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.