Periodontal disease is the most common problem affecting cats of all age groups. The very best way to prevent periodontal disease is daily dental home care. However, it is useful to add in effective, evidence-based dental food to provide appropriate daily plaque control.
Cleaning your cat’s teeth every day at home will help prevent plaque and tartar build-up. Use of a pet toothpaste is recommended, but even wiping a Q-tip across your cat’s teeth and gums goes a long way to reduce plaque and tartar accumulation. For proper dental evaluation and care, your cat must be safely placed under general anesthesia. The examination usually includes dental X-rays and probing to evaluate gum bleeding and periodontal pockets. Tooth scaling will be performed, using both hand and ultrasonic scalers, to remove tartar above and below the gum line.
Root canal therapy is a treatment which involves removing infected contents from the center of the tooth, sterilizing the canal, and replacing the removed material with dental material which provides antibiotic action. The tooth is then restored to function.
Fractured teeth in cats can result from fights, car accidents, and chewing on hard objects. There are five classifications of tooth fractures and each needs treatment to avoid tooth sensitivity and pain. Because cats have thin enamel, even a small chip fracture can cause pain and needs veterinary care. Clinical signs include chewing on one side of the mouth, excessive drooling, pawing at the mouth, and facial swelling.
Bad breath (halitosis) is caused by bacteria, plaque, tartar, decomposing food particles, or death of tissue. Treatment of halitosis in cats involves eliminating the cause(s). The teeth need to be thoroughly cleaned and polished under general anesthesia. Teeth affected by advanced periodontal disease or tooth resorption need to be extracted. Reducing the accumulation of plaque, tartar, and resulting halitosis can be achieved by using VOHC accepted products.