Studies report that between 50 and 90% of cats older than four years of age suffer from some form of dental disease, but fortunately the most common forms of these diseases are largely preventable or treatable with appropriate preventive dental care and monitoring. Periodontal disease, tooth resorption, stomatitis, malocclusions, oral tumors and oral trauma are all cat teeth problems that can occur. Periodontitis is almost always the result of untreated gingivitis, so controlling this inciting process is crucial. Most cats have some degree of periodontal disease by the time they are two or three years of age. Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat. Usually, it indicates periodontal disease or infection in the mouth, but it can also mean that the cat has a systemic problem like kidney failure. 10 Signs of Oral Problems in Cats 1. In periodontitis, the tissues that attach the tooth to the underlying gums and bone are weakened as a result of damaging substances produced by disease-causing bacteria and the inflammation caused by the cat’s own immune system. Senior cats often struggle with these health concerns on a daily basis. Over time, calcium is deposited in the plaque which hardens into tartar or calculus. If your cat is shy about tasting it, put a tiny dab near his or her mouth so he or she can lick it off. Tooth resorption in cats is usually first identified as a pinkish defect in the tooth at the line where the tooth meets the gums. Regardless of the treatment, careful follow-up and monitoring are important. They can lead to bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth, and oral pain, and difficulty eating. It is important to use only tooth gel or toothpaste designed specifically for cats, as human products can be toxic to cats. The issue can develop in any of a cat’s 30 teeth. Cats do get bad teeth but they are not usually the same as cavities in humans. The bacteria living in the plaque and tartar travel below the gum line, resulting in inflammation and infection of the gums and the tooth roots. Cup his chin and slowly lift up his lip. This inflammation is usually the result of a process that begins with the buildup of plaque, a film that harbors bacteria, on the teeth. The bacteria releases toxins below the gum line, that causes an inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. Cats also need complete dental cleanings done under anesthesia at the veterinary clinic periodically. Disease-causing bacteria that accumulate on and below the gums produce substances that damage the cells that form a barrier between the gums and the teeth. Knowing the subtle signs of oral problems in cats and getting prompt care is critical to maintaining your cat’s quality and duration of life. You can even … A complete evaluation of cats with periodontitis involves probing the gums, and examining X-rays of the head and jaw, which require anesthesia. Your veterinarian may recommend careful monitoring in cases in which lesions are limited to the tooth root and obvious discomfort is not apparent. Checking for Dental Problems Lift your cat’s lips. Generally, the sooner the problem is identified, the easier and quicker it is to treat. Cancer of the mouth is diagnosed relatively commonly in cats, and the primary oral cancer seen in them is squamous cell carcinoma. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian. Tooth Resorption. Gingivitis is an inflammation of a cat’s gums. Stomatitis is treated with antibiotics, pain medications, tooth cleaning, and extraction of teeth. Gingivitis. Sign up for the FREE Cat Health Mewsletter. The appropriate pain relief for your kitty's toothache depends on the treatment for the exact problems … There is little or no evidence that treating gingivitis with antibiotics alone is effective. Periodontal disease is a gum disease that is common among cats. You can buy a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for your cat at your vet's office. Tooth resorption is the most common cause of tooth loss in cats, and between 30 and 70% of cats show some sign of this destructive process. If the cat’s immune response to these disease-causing bacteria is strong, he or she will develop gingivitis, but it is also possible the cat’s immune system will tolerate the bacteria without any detrimental effects on either. Broken teeth are prone to developing infections and can be painful if left untreated. It’s not normal for a cat’s breath to smell fishy or rotten. This allows the bacteria access to the connective tissue below the teeth where the cat’s immune system will probably react by making the gums inflamed and painful. Senior care, almost by definition, means being able to juggle many different factors and evaluating your patient as a whole. To treat feline periodontitis, your veterinarian will recommend removing plaque and mineral buildup by scaling and polishing the teeth while trying to save the teeth wherever possible. It is prudent for cat owners to keep a regular check of their cat’s mouth and seek veterinary attention if they notice anything amiss. Companion Animal Hospital in Ithaca, NY for cats, dogs, exotics, and wildlife, Equine and Nemo Farm Animal Hospitals in Ithaca, NY for horses and farm animals, Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists, on Long Island for every horse, Ambulatory and Production Medicine for service on farms within 30 miles of Ithaca, NY, Animal Health Diagnostic Center New York State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine Ithaca, New York 14853-6401. Good dental hygiene can prevent many dental conditions. If a cat has severe gingivitis, tooth brushing can be quite painful, so consult with a veterinarian before considering brushing the teeth of a cat with gingivitis. Some tooth fractures are not a problem for the cat, but if a break reaches the inner sensitive part of the tooth or occurs below the gum line, it needs to be treated, usually with extraction. In fact, x-rays are usually done when a person is bitten by a young cat to ensure that a tooth tip hasn't been left inside the person. The cause of tooth resorption is not known. Characterized by red, swollen gums, gingivitis is quite common in cats, occurring in up to 90 percent of cats once they pass their fourth birthday. Get your cat used to the toothbrush. If the teeth are extracted early in the disease process, the procedure generally results in significant improvement or complete resolution of the inflammation in 60% to 80% of cats. Stomatitis is a dental condition that occurs in some cats in which the gums become extremely inflamed and painful. Periodontal disease: The most common dental problem in cats is periodontal disease, which includes gingivitis and periodontitis. Here are some of the most common dental and oral problems that occur in cats. Given that gingivitis leads to periodontitis, most cats with periodontitis will show signs of gingivitis (redness, swelling, bleeding along the gingiva at the base of the teeth), and may also be reluctant or unwilling to eat, drool, turn their heads to the side when chewing, and develop halitosis. ~ Scarlet. Gingivitis is characterized by swelling, redness, discomfort, and, in severe cases, bleeding where the gums and the teeth meet (the gingival margin). Cats are secretive by nature, and it can be difficult to tell if a cat is experiencing oral discomfort. The thing about dental disease is that it certainly can do harm to the vital organs, including the kidneys. Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell Ruffian Equine Specialists, on Long Island, Rewards (either an edible treat or a drink from her favorite water faucet). Dental disease is a relatively common problem in pet cats (especially as they get older) and can be made more likely by many different factors such as: Age – dental disease is much more common in older cats due to wear, tear and tartar build up throughout life. Hold your cat’s head steady with one hand and use … Things to look for include: An Indication of Disease or Injury. Age Progression. Tooth resorption can be very painful, so affected cats may be reluctant or unwilling to eat, may drool, turn their heads to the side while eating, and may be irritable. The best way to help your cat avoid periodontal disease is by brushing his teeth routinely at home with a small brush and pet toothpaste and having him checked over by a veterinarian regularly. Dental problems are one of the most common problems vets encounter with cats. Brush your cat's teeth once a month to keep his mouth healthy. Let your cat become familiar with the smell of the toothpaste. Aging cats are susceptible to dental issues like gum disease and feline tooth resorption, a disease in which teeth dissolve at the roots. Thomas: You’re certainly in a tricky situation, Scarlet. In many cases, dental disease causes a cat to stop eating, which leads to a variety of health problems. Then, you will be transferred to a human. Brush your cat's teeth regularly. The three most common dental diseases in cats are gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth resorption, and the severity of each of these conditions can vary significantly. When caused by one of these systemic diseases, gingivitis may be accompanied by inflammation or sores in other parts of the pink mucous lining of the mouth, a condition known as stomatitis. In most cases, however, a cat’s loss of one, two, or possibly all of her teeth will occur as the result of tooth resorption, the progressive development of destructive lesions on an animal’s teeth and gum tissue. 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