Dental disease is a challenge for many cats. By four years of age, many cats have considerable gingivitis, and many also have periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a slow progressing but serious disease that causes pain and affects your cat's overall health and well-being. Most of the time, cats will not show signs of oral discomfort with this disease. Because the pain associated with dental problems progresses slowly over time, cats learn to live with it. This is why your cat needs to visit your veterinarian annually to assess its oral health.
Common Dental Problems for Cats
- Periodontal disease
- Plaque buildup
- Tooth loss
- Mouth sores and ulcers
- Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL)
Proper Dental Hygiene for Your Cat
There are several ways to care for your cat's teeth and gums properly. All of them involve a commitment to your cat's oral health. Your cat cannot tell you if it needs dental care, so it is up to you to be proactive and address their needs. To monitor your cat's oral health:
- Watch for signs of possible dental issues such as bad breath
- When possible, establish a teeth-cleaning routine when your cat is young
- Good nutrition is the foundation of good dental health
- Schedule semi-annual exams for cats
- During your cat's checkup, talk to your veterinarian about any odd behaviors you've noticed or concerns you have
- Early prevention is essential to avoiding or treating serious dental issues
Proper teeth cleaning for your cat consists of an oral exam and x-rays. These are typically performed while your cat is under anesthesia and can help us accurately diagnose any dental disease that may be present. Many cats produce feline odontoclastic resorption lesions (FORL) in their teeth. These are cavity-like lesions at the neck of the tooth (where the gum meets the tooth). These lesions cause the roots to be resorbed and are extremely painful to your cat.
Other dental issues in cats include gingivitis and periodontal disease, both of which might require medication or dental work to alleviate the pain. The importance of annual exams cannot be underestimated. In order to keep your cat healthy, visits to your veterinarian that include oral exams are crucial. Call Warwick Animal Hospital in Newport News, VA, today (757-595-3337) to schedule a dental exam for your cat.