Pet Dental Month
February Is Pet Dental Health Month
Dental care is an important part of your cat’s overall well being. Bacteria in the mouth can affect other areas of your cat’s health including the liver, bladder, heart, and even brain. Keeping your cat’s teeth clean and healthy can help them feel better and can prevent painful conditions, like periodontal disease, abscesses and fractured teeth. By age three, 80% of cats will have dental disease. The good news is that with proper care, periodontal disease can be prevented!
When should my cat’s teeth be examined?
We will examine your cat’s teeth at every appointment, but they should be checked at a minimum once a year by a veterinarian. You should have your kitty checked sooner if you notice bad breath, a broken tooth, visible tartar, bleeding or red gums, abnormal chewing behavior, refusal to eat, decreased appetite, pain in the mouth or any swelling around the head.
What is Veterinary Dentistry?
Veterinary dentistry consists of a complete oral examination by a veterinarian, scaling and polishing all of the teeth, dental x-rays, and any necessary extractions or oral surgery needed to correct any issues. Most periodontal disease can be prevented with routine and frequent dental cleanings. Your cat will need to be anesthetized in order to perform the dentistry safely, as well as to reduce pain and stress associated with the procedure for your cat. Anesthesia has come a long way, and is now much safer overall. There is always a small risk associated with any anesthesia; however, the benefits your cat will receive from a complete and thorough dental outweigh the risks associated with the anesthesia.
How do I schedule a Dental?
First you should schedule an examination with your veterinarian. At the exam, we can examine the mouth and give you an idea if the dental would be a routine cleaning, or if it looks like we may need to do any extractions. We can also do any necessary pre-anesthetic testing that would be needed at that visit. After the exam, we can set up your dental appointment (it will be on a different day than the exam).
What kind of follow up care is needed?
After your cat’s teeth are cleaned, we want to keep them that way! Your veterinarian will discuss different ways to keep them clean at home. There are many different options, so it’s important to find the one that will work for you and your cat. Ideally, daily tooth brushing would be done, but if that won’t work we will discuss oral rinses, treats, and diets that can keep your cat’s mouth healthy.
How often does my cat need a dental?
It truly depends on your cat! Some cats need annual cleanings, while others can go a few years in between dental cleanings. The more you can do at home, the longer your cat can go between cleanings. Your veterinarian will advise you at each appointment whether a dental cleaning is needed.