Disease prevention plays a major role in all aspects of your pet’s health care, especially when it comes to their oral health. We will perform a dental examination during your pet's annual wellness exam.
Our veterinarians will take a look at the condition of various parts of their oral cavity. This includes analyzing the teeth, gums, checking for visible tartar or broken crowns, traumatic fractures of the teeth, or looking for oral masses or problems with the cat’s tongue. Sometimes to get a complete and comprehensive oral exam, sedation or tranquilization may be needed for the comfort of our patients.
We may recommend that pets receive regular dental care at home and yearly or semi-yearly teeth cleanings with us in order to prevent a variety of diseases and the need for tooth extractions later.
Once your pet's dental cleaning is scheduled, your vet will be able to perform a complete exam. At this point, after some preliminary lab work, your cat will be placed under anesthesia. This allows your cat to not feel discomfort during the examination and cleaning process.
Dental radiography is VERY important in helping us see deeper dental pathology below the gum line (where we can’t see) and allowing us to evaluate structures that are invisible to us in an oral examination, like teeth roots. Disease in these areas can be sources of oral pain for our feline family members that we had no idea were there. But, our cats know they are there! And so do the dental x-rays!!
The cleaning process itself involves careful scaling, both by hand and by an ultrasonic scaling tool like your dentist uses on you. This allows your cat to have any plaque and tartar removed.
Scaling is followed by polishing the enamel surfaces with fluoride tooth polish. This smooths out microscopic etchings on the enamel surface of the teeth, thereby helping to prevent calculus and tartar from reforming on enamel surfaces. Sometimes, it is necessary to apply a long-acting antibiotic gel to treat periodontal disease we identify in our patients. Many problems we encounter in feline dentistry are not discovered until we get a chance to do a good oral exam on our sleeping patient. We will discuss any new oral exam findings with you prior to starting any procedures we didn’t discuss with you ahead of time.
Locally injected numbing agents may have been used in your cat’s mouth to control pain during the tooth extraction surgery. Those local blocks can last anywhere from 6-24 hours, depending on the type of medication that was given.
After these blocks wear off, you will likely be instructed to give your cat oral medication to control the pain at home.
Closely monitor your cat’s recovery and watch for signs that they are still in pain:
Some of these signs can also be side effects from anesthesia or pain medication. If you notice any of these signs and are giving your cat the medication as directed, call your vet to ask for next steps.
Most veterinarians will schedule a recheck 7-14 days after cat dental extractions to look in their mouth and assess healing.
Dental radiology helps us look for hidden disease or helps us determine which action should be taken to a diseased tooth. This provides us with full-mouth radiographs. We can use this vital information to help determine the health, functionality and any potential illness or discomfort your cat may have.
While in house treatment is incredibly important, the best care for your cat really does start at home. Just like your cat relies on you for things like food, shelter and water, they also need you to provide them with teeth cleaning.
Teeth cleaning is not limited to one type of treatment. There are many things you can do at home, and that we can do here, to keep your pet’s teeth and gums as healthy as they can be. This primarily includes: