Cats + Dental & Oral Health

  • Anesthesia-free dentistry is a service that is commonly offered at pet stores and grooming facilities. Veterinarians use general anesthesia during dental procedures to permit a thorough oral examination and treatment of any diagnosed dental disease. Unfortunately, anesthesia-free dentistry is often a higher-stress option than the alternative. Scaling the teeth involves placing sharp instruments inside the mouth and with a wiggly pet, injury can occur. Anesthesia-free dentistry is far more limited than veterinary dentistry. Dental cleanings should only be performed while your pet is under anesthesia. Your veterinarian will customize your pet’s anesthetic plan for your pet’s overall health condition.

  • Many pets are sensitive to being restrained for grooming. With slow progress and positive rewards, your pet can learn to accept or even enjoy having their teeth cleaned.

  • Dental X-rays in cats are similar to those taken in humans. In many cases, intraoral (within the mouth) dental X-rays are necessary to identify and treat dental problems in your cat. Nearly two-thirds of each tooth is located under the gum line. Your cat will need to be anesthetized to accurately place the X-ray sensor and perform a thorough oral assessment, treatment, and prevention procedures.

  • Tooth resorption in cats is a painful condition with an unknown cause. The most commonly affected teeth are the premolars of the lower jaws. Tooth resorption is divided into specific types based on the radiographic appearance of the tooth root. With Type 1, there is destruction of the crown, but the root retains a normal appearance with a discernible periodontal ligament. With Type 2, the root appears to be disintegrating and is not easily discernible from bone. Lesions that affect the tooth crown are very painful and require treatment. Cats with tooth resorption may show increased salivation, oral bleeding, or difficulty eating, as well as muscular spasms or trembling of the jaw whenever the lesion is touched. Treatment will be determined based on the type of tooth resorption your cat has.

  • A tooth root abscess develops when bacteria enter the exposed root canal of the tooth. If the protective tooth enamel is chipped exposing the underlying dentin or the pulp, bacteria can gain access to the center of the tooth causing an infection. A persistent infection can result in an abscess that may leak directly into the oral cavity or may leak out onto the skin. Any tooth can fracture; however, the large upper and lower canine teeth are the most commonly broken teeth. If your cat has an abscess, she may be reluctant to chew on her toys or she might pull away when her head is touched. A tooth root abscess is a very painful condition and needs to be treated as soon as possible. Antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and/or pain relief medication will be prescribed. Treatment options include root canal therapy or extraction.

  • Cats can have misalignment of the teeth much like people. In people, orthodontic care can be used to perfect a pleasing smile or create a functional bite. In cats, the goal is to make the mouth functional and pain free. Often, this involves moving, reducing the height of teeth, or extracting teeth.

  • Regular preventive health care for your cat can increase the length and quality of her life. Healthcare guidelines are established and kept up to date using the most recent evidence-based recommendations including the recommendation that all cats receive a complete veterinary examination at least once a year or more frequently, depending on their individual needs and health concerns.