Monday, February 17, 2014

The tooth about your cat's dental health

Fish breath got you down?
February is Pet Dental Health Month! Time to sit back and think about your cat's teeth!

Many people don't like to think about their cat's teeth - they're sharp, pointy reminders that your cat is a natural predator and would love to shower you with gifts of innocent birds and mice, or the occasional frog. We're reminded of their teeth when they love-nip our toes in the middle of the night, or when we get a whiff of fish-breath after dinner. However, the health of your cat's mouth is more critically important that you might realize!

Dental disease is linked to kidney disease, heart disease and other chronic illnesses. Regular dental cleanings can often prevent dental disease and the need to extract teeth. It also gives us an opportunity to address other mouth abnormalities - check for cancer, broken teeth, misaligned teeth, etc. Read on to learn more about some of the conditions that can affect your cat's mouth.


If your cat has misaligned teeth, they can poke painfully into the lip, tongue, gums or the roof of the mouth. Additionally, crowded, extra, or missing teeth can cause the same trouble.














Tartar and plaque can build up underneath the gum line and destroy the tooth from below.














 Because most dental disease begins at the root of the tooth, and cat cavities (called "resorptive lesions") start from the inside and work their way to the surface, what appears to be a healthy tooth can actually be a tooth that is in the process of being destroyed.

 Bacteria and white blood cells build up at the base of the tooth and can enter the blood stream or build up a pocket of infection called an abscess, which can cause facial swelling, fever, nosebleeds or sneezing, and poor appetite. Sometimes this can occur even when most of the tooth has fallen out.












 This tooth is filled up with pus (white blood cells and bacteria).

















That missing tooth left a big open hole that can fill with bacteria and cause infection. Besides the large blocks of tartar on the upper teeth, there is a large, painful cavity on one of the lower teeth, and a very painful area surrounding the exposed roots of another tooth affected by dental disease.








 This painful condition is "stomatitis" - a severe and extremely painful swelling and inflammation of the mouth. Ouch!











If your cat has never had his teeth cleaned before, you may wonder what happens during a dental cleaning or dental surgery. To find out, you may want to read more about why dental care costs so much in veterinary medicine.

Ask any one of our patients who has had a bad tooth removed! You may not realize it, but while most cats will not stop eating if their mouth is painful, they may play less, sleep more, and lose weight. Many people are simply amazed at the positive change in their cat's attitude and health after their teeth are cleaned. Ask Rowan!