Dental disease is extremely common in cats. Studies show that around 85% of cats over the age of three have some form of dental disease. It was once thought that diet played a big role in preventing dental disease in cats, but studies are showing that this is not the case. Tooth brushing from an early age is considered much more effective in preventing dental disease. At Just Cats, we specialise in dentistry and we carry out a yearly examination of your cats’ mouth at their annual booster appointment with the vet. If there is tartar build up leaving the gums red or inflamed, the vet will recommend a dental procedure.
What does a dental procedure mean for my cat and me?
A dental procedure includes periodontal probing of any pockets we see that may suggest gum detachment from the tooth, intra-oral x-rays, scaling to remove tartar and finally charting. Charting is a tool that vets use to record your cat’s oral health. Based on the results from all of the above, the vet will then make a specific treatment plan for your cat. This might require at home oral hygiene (tooth brushing) or extraction of severely disease teeth.
For this procedure, your cat will undergo a general anaesthetic which can be a frightening thought for pet owners. However, we are extremely experienced in feline anaesthesia and take every precaution to ensure the safest anaesthetic possible for your feline friend.
Brushing your cats’ teeth is proven to reduce the risk of dental disease. You can start brushing your cats’ teeth from any age, but it is often easier and most effective the younger they are. It is important to only use veterinary products and build this technique up slowly to give your cat time to adjust and help them understand nothing harmful is happening. Not all cat owners will be able to take on this task and that is ok, but if you think you can please give us a call for some information. When tooth brushing is not possible, we might recommend using an antiseptic mouth paste to reduce the risk of bacteria causing infection.
What if tooth extraction is needed?
Firstly, we know this sounds daunting, but we do everything in our power to ensure your cat is as comfortable as possible. Again, our vets are very experienced in making tooth extractions as painless as possible for your cat. Vets will use nerve blocks around the tooth to ensure less pain during and after this procedure. We also use a combination of anti-inflammatories and opioids to ensure your cat is covered for any type of pain they may experience due to this procedure.
Your cat will have stitches where the tooth was extracted. These stitches are dissolvable and will dissolve fully in 2-4 weeks. The stitches are very fine and cause no irritation after the procedure. This procedure may involve an overnight stay with us. We understand how worrying it can be for owners when their cat is in the vets so we will call you when they wake up to let you know how they are doing.
Post tooth extraction and procedure
Your cat will go home with a liquid pain relief to ensure comfort post procedure. We provide follow up checks with the vet 3 and 10 days after the procedure where the vet will examine your cat’s mouth to make sure it is healing well after their dental procedure. Cats need to be fed a soft food diet until the vet advises otherwise as hard food is abrasive and can disrupt the healing process of the gums post procedure.
We specialise in dentistry and our vets are very experienced in this field. Cats are notorious for hiding their pain and they can carry on eating even with severe dental disease. As most of cats’ dental issues begin at the roots of the teeth, it is impossible to fully assess the extent of the disease without taking x-ray. Intra-oral x-rays are taken so that the veterinarian can see what is going on below the gum line. From the x-rays they will be able to see if there is any bone damage or lesions of the root that may be causing your cat discomfort.
For this reason, we consider it unethical not to take dental x-rays prior to any tooth cleaning or extractions as doing so we might miss important lesions and potentially cause harm to your cat.