Cat dental care involves monitoring and seeing if our cats are getting tartar buildup on their teeth and ensuring that they're eating. We look out for symptoms like bad breath, red and inflamed gums right where the teeth meet the gum line, discolored teeth, and blackish tartar on the teeth. We also check for fractures, gingivitis, and stomatitis. Cats can also get a condition called FORLS, where the teeth start to dissolve either above or below the gum line, which is incredibly painful. It is also important to watch them eat, as signs like dropping food out of the mouth or only eating on one side could indicate dental problems.
An oral examination is the first step in diagnosing dental problems. During the exam, we look inside the cat's mouth, lifting the tongue to see the inside of the lower teeth and the back of the tongue. If we suspect disease, we perform dental x-rays while the cat is under anesthesia to see what's going on beneath the gum line. We've had cats that have visually healthy teeth, but then the dental x-rays show the root dissolving or being eaten away by infection.
Feeding your cat crunchy treats can help keep their teeth clean as it acts like a brushing action. If your cat allows it, you can brush its teeth with a finger toothbrush and a toothpaste. Make sure to use cat or dog and cat enzyme toothpaste, as human toothpaste is toxic to animals. Routine dental cleanings are also necessary.
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