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Dental Care and Cleaning

Similar to humans, dental hygiene is a crucial aspect of your cat's overall health. Regular dental cleanings can help maintain your cat's well-being for longer. Although it's easy to ignore dental care for pets, oral health is as important any other physical health aspect. Neglecting oral hygiene can result in dental disease, causing issues such as difficulty eating, bad breath, poor grooming, and tooth loss. Dental disease can also impact other bodily systems, affecting not only effecting their oral health, but your cat's overall health.

Did you know...

...it is just as important to brush your cat’s teeth as it is to brush your own? Brushing your cat’s teeth is a great way prevent excess plaque buildup and dental disease. It’s a good idea to brush a cat’s teeth a few times a week if possible, however, we understand that for some this is not an easy task. If this is the case for you, feeding hard food and dental treats can be another way to help prevent plaque buildup, but make sure to keep a close eye on your cat’s teeth as this method is not as effective as brushing.

 

It’s important to remember that even with regular brushing, cats may still require dental cleaning from time to time. Just like our mouths, brushing can help to slow down plaque buildup, but it will not prevent it entirely. This is why we recommend having a veterinarian check your cat’s mouth at least once a year to make sure that it is still looking healthy. 

Denal Surgery and What to Expect

Even with the best preventative treatment, the build up of plaque can never be entirely halted, and as such, most cats will require a dental cleaning at some point in their lives. During our dental procedures the cat is fully sedated, and bloodwork is highly recommend before going under anesthesia. Once sedated, we take full mouth radiographs to get the best possible view of what the cats mouth looks like before beginning to clean. During the cleaning process a tech uses a high power water scraper, similar to those used in a dental office, to clean off all that plaque buildup that has formed on the teeth before the doctor takes a closer look.

 

Once all the plaque has been removed, the doctor is able to do a thorough examination of the teeth. During this process the doctor determines if there are any teeth that need to be removed, or any other issues that need to be addressed. Tooth loss is not an uncommon occurrence in our older patients, and they often do very well once any suspect teeth have been removed, but ignoring these teeth can lead to more issues over time. The safety and health of a cat under anesthesia is always our number one priority, however, which is why it is sometimes necessary to split this procedure into multiple stages. This allows us to be as thorough as possible while trying to keep the amount of time the patient is under anesthesia to a minimum.

Once all extractions have been performed, our tech once again comes in to polish any remaining teeth and add a fluoride treatment before waking the patient.

 

After care for our dental procedures varie depending on the extent of extractions. On a routine cleaning with no extractions, there should not be much change in medication or behavior once the cat goes home. In cases where the extractions may be more substantial, we give anti-inflammatory and pain management medications, both injected and sent home with the patient. These patients should also be kept on a soft food diet until their mouths haves some time to heal. Most cats do very well after dental procedures, and don’t have many issues after going home. After a few weeks, we will have a follow up exam to make sure everything is healing properly.

Why are dental x-rays so important? 

Though yearly checks can help us determine the state of a cat’s mouth, it is impossible to know the full extent of any kind of dental disease without a sedated exam and dental radiographs. Periodontal disease, the most common dental disease in cats right now, is impossible to fully diagnose without taking x-rays of a cat’s mouth. Our recent addition of our high-powered dental radiograph machine lets us get a full picture of what your cat’s mouth looks like and lets us determine what the best course of action going forward will be.

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