What is the first thing a doctor would look for during my cat's dental exam?
We mainly open up the mouth, and we look at the upper and lower teeth. As you can see, these are the upper teeth, and these are the lower teeth. These are the upper and lower canines. We pretty much look for any sign of dental disease, which could be something like little stomatitis to severe stomatitis. What that means is that you will see that red line. I don't know if you guys can see it, but it's when they have inflammation of the gum line. In cats or dogs, we call it stomatitis. You can see the red line above the teeth where the teeth meet the gum line.
Dr. Odet Kaspari-Chiriboga
Hillcrest Pet Hospital
What kind of dental or oral problems can cats have?
They mainly have resorptive lesions, which is common in cats. It's where parts of the bone and the tooth root resorb into each other, so when you look on the x-ray, you don't see that fine line where the tooth meets the bone, where the periodontal ligament is. You don't see that. Their teeth can have these little Swiss cheese-looking holes in them because the tooth itself is being resorbed. The other thing is tartar on the teeth and stomatitis, which we just explained earlier.
During the dental, does my cat always need x-rays?
I like to take x-rays because, sometimes, if they have resorptive lesions, you don't easily see them from the outside. Sometimes you can see it without x-rays, and other times you have to take an x-ray. Sometimes the tooth can look normal but still have problems in the roots.
Why would my cat need extractions?
If the root is not healthy or has more than 50% bone loss, it's recommended to extract the teeth. If the teeth are loose, obviously, they have to come out. Otherwise, it's a source of pain and discomfort to the kitty.
How often would you recommend a dental for a cat?
An average recommendation is about once a year. But of course, like anything else, some pets will need it more. Some pets will need it less. So it's good to keep up with your yearly exams, even once every six months, if you can. If they get it once a year, especially with kitties, we're really grateful. The veterinarian can determine whether or not it's needed.
What can I do to maintain good dental care at home?
You can brush their teeth. There's toothpaste specifically for cats with a little brush that you can connect to your finger and brush their teeth if your kitty cat lets you. If not, there are drops you can put in their water to help prevent tartar formation on the teeth.
If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (818) 249-2092, 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.