It’s not uncommon for cats to develop some type of periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, in the first few years of their life. Not following any dental cleaning routine or not taking them for regular checkups and dental care for cats only furthers the possibility of diseases developing. Occasionally, by the time pet owners take their cats to their first checkup, tooth loss is already unavoidable. But what does a veterinarian do on their checkup, and how can you keep your cat healthy until their next scheduled appointment?
What Happens During a Professional Teeth Cleaning?
Firstly, the veterinarian in charge administers anesthesia to your cat to search for any visible issues. Then, while the cat is properly sedated, the veterinarian takes x-rays to search for signs of periodontal disease that they see by just looking around the pet’s mouth.
After the veterinarians take note of any dental problem, they perform tooth scaling. With a couple of different scalers at hand, your vet will remove all the tartar possible from above and below the gum line. In some cases, it won’t be possible to save heavily deteriorated teeth, so extraction is in order.
Does Pet Dentistry Require Anesthesia?
Yes, pet dentistry does require anesthesia. Given that your pet doesn’t understand what vets are doing to them, they panic and tend to move a lot to try to escape the situation and can even be hostile towards the veterinarian in charge. Not only is there a risk of injury if there’s no anesthesia involved, but the work itself needed can be much more efficient if the patient is not moving around, making it harder to clean thoroughly.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), anesthesia has the great benefit of posing low risk to your pet while offering great benefits to them and their treatment. Any pet owner can rest assured that their pet will be in perfect condition after the procedure, aside from some visible dizziness that should only last until the next day.
How to Take Care of Your Cat’s Teeth?
Given that both plaque and tartar can start forming in your cat’s mouth just 6 hours after professional cleaning, it’s incredibly important to develop a daily dental cleaning routine at home. If that’s not possible, then try to clean your cat’s teeth at least a couple of times a week.
Pet owners can take care of their cat’s teeth using gauze, a single glove finger, or even a Q-tip to remove plaque accumulation on the gum line. Additionally, owners should brush their pet’s teeth with tools and products specialized in cat use only. As cats can be unpredictable and will try to escape if they are held onto one position for too long, try to get them used to the process first. Start by passing your fingers through their teeth for a couple of seconds at a time, and add a second every day. Once they are comfortable enough, you can start using a toothbrush and toothpaste.
First, all pet owners need to remember that they can’t use human toothpaste on their cats. The amount of fluoride in regular toothpaste will hurt your cat’s stomach. Similarly, your cat’s toothbrush can’t be the same type of toothbrush we use daily. The head on a cat’s toothbrush is small to allow for maneuvering inside the mouth, and they tend to be at an angle for better access. Additionally, you can use water additives if your cat is heavily resistant to brushing. As the name implies, the product dissolves into fresh water for your cat to drink. The additive contains a variety of enzymes and antibacterial agents that will help prevent plaque accumulation.
Insider has a great review of multiple cat products that will help you choose what’s best for your cat.
Of course, some cats will always put up a fight when you are trying to brush their teeth, making a daily cleaning routine very difficult. Fortunately, there are special treats and dry food that help in removing some tartar from your cat’s teeth. The Strategist recommends 3 food items that will help your cat’s oral health. Some options require a prescription, while some treats can make your cat gain weight if you reward them too frequently. It’s best to consult your veterinarian before changing your cat’s food or using a new product on them.
Although brushing at home is an incredibly powerful ally in maintaining your cat’s mouth healthy, there’s still a need to visit your veterinarian at least once a year for cleaning and a checkup. Only under sedation and with the use of special tools can veterinarians remove the tartar and plaque stuck under and over your pet’s gumline. Additionally, your vet needs x-rays to find any dental diseases that your cat might have under their gumline.
The Best Care For Your Cat
If you have any questions regarding your cat’s health or you require an emergency veterinarian, contact us here. We are opening Monday to Thursday from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am and Friday from 6:00 pm through Monday at 8:00 am.