Feline Dental Disease and Dental Care

Dental health often falls low on a pet owner’s list of health priorities. Many owners simply do not realize the impact improper oral healthcare can have on their pet’s overall health. Even if cats could brush their teeth, plaque and tartar will build up over time leading to gingivitis and, ultimately, periodontal disease. Periodontal disease, the most common disease in cats, is a painful condition leading to bleeding gums, bad breath, food aversion, behavioral changes and tooth loss.

More severe and potentially life-threatening complications arise when periodontal disease allows bacteria into the bloodstream, resulting in possible damage to the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs.  Per the American Veterinary Dental Society, nearly 70 percent of cats show signs of oral disease by age three.





Veterinarian, The

Family Pet Hospital



In addition to periodontal disease, cats may suffer from a condition known as Feline Resorptive Lesions, also known as “TRs” (Tooth Resorption). In this condition, tooth enamel is lost due to overactive cells breaking down the enamel, resulting in nerve exposure and tooth destruction. For many cats, this painful condition is only detected during a dental cleaning with the utilization of dental x-rays. Approximately 30 percent of feline dental problems occur below the gum line, making x-rays a necessity for a comprehensive treatment plan.

While it is easy to recognize pain associated with a broken leg, what about a painful tooth?

Typically, cats do not stop eating when they have a painful tooth. Cats often gulp commercial cat food rather than chewing it, allowing them to hide dental pain. In fact, cats are quite adept at hiding pain and illness. If your cat has a resorptive lesion or periodontal disease, your cat is in pain. Only proper dental work can fully alleviate their pain.


Feline dental problems require anesthesia for treatment. A complete dental care plan, under anesthesia, includes a thorough dental cleaning via ultrasonic scaling above and below the gum line, polishing, digital dental radiography and extractions, if required.

Preventative dental care at home is also instrumental in maintaining your cat’s dental health. Several products are available which promote healthy, pain-free teeth and gums. Do you go to the dentist? So should your cat.

“The sooner you get the dog to the vet, the more likely the dog is to make it as multiple organ failure and clotting issues often ensue in dogs with heat stroke.”


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