Get your cat used to the toothbrush. 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. Dental disease in cats can cause serious pain and discomfort, which can impact a cat’s quality of life. Cavities. Brush around gently, and work around the upper and lower teeth. Cats should ideally have their teeth examined by a vet at least once every 12 months, and cats that have had dental problems should be examined once every 3-6 months depending on their condition. Back when I was a child, what we now know about cat tooth infections wasn’t known and it wasn’t the done thing to put them under for a clean. This is one of the reasons it's important to check your cat's mouth often and have routine dental cleanings done. Tooth crowding and insufficient oral health care may contribute to plaque accumulation. To treat feline tooth resorption, a veterinarian will aim to manage the cat’s pain, prevent the condition from progressing, and restore the function of the tooth or teeth as much as possible. 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. Things to look for include: 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. However, your cat's dental health is critically important to their overall well-being and quality of life, so you do need to know a little bit about what goes on in there, what can go wrong, and what you can do to help keep your cat's mouth healthy. Periodontal disease is a gum disease that is common among cats. Ensure that your cat is healthy enough to endure the use of anesthetic. Diet – an inappropriate diet can increase the chance of dental disease. Put a small amount of toothpaste on the brush and let him or her lick it off. Initially, a bot will ask questions to determine the general nature of your concern. The most common dental problems seen in cats are gingivitis, periodontal, and tooth resorption. Many domestic cats develop dental problems as they get older, especially if they don't get professional dental work every year. The most common dental problem found in cats is a condition called Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL) Sometimes the FORLs are obvious (see picture above) but sometimes they are only evident from x-ray images. You can even … Cats are secretive by nature, and it can be difficult to tell if a cat is experiencing oral discomfort. Diseases of the teeth and gums are common in cats. The thing about dental disease is that it certainly can do harm to the vital organs, including the kidneys. When extractions are delayed, the response to surgery is not good. The Cornell Feline Health Center is closely monitoring the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Tooth resorption in cats is usually first identified as a pinkish defect in the tooth at the line where the tooth meets the gums. Veterinarian-written / veterinarian-approved articles for your cat. Regardless of the treatment, careful follow-up and monitoring are important. It’s only necessary to brush the outside surfaces, as the cat’s own tongue cleans the inside surfaces well. Week 2: In extreme cases, a cat may lose one or more teeth. 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. Here are some of the most common dental and oral problems that occur in cats. Senior cats often struggle with these health concerns on a daily basis. Gently stretch your cat's lips far enough to insert the brush gently between the lips and gums. Cats also need complete dental cleanings done under anesthesia at the veterinary clinic periodically. 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. There are a variety of home remedies for feline gingivitis you can use to keep your cat's teeth and gums in good working order. If there is significant damage, it can be difficult to extract the entire tooth. Notice: Ask-a-Vet is an affiliated service for those who wish to speak with a veterinary professional about their pet's specific condition. Stomatitis is a dental condition that occurs in some cats in which the gums become extremely inflamed and painful. It can occur on the roof of the mouth, under the tongue, or along the inside or outside of the gum lines. 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. While you should be looking at your cat's teeth periodically yourself, it is easy to miss the types of problem signs that a trained and experienced veterinarian will pick up on. Oral tumors can be debulked, which means that as much as possible is surgically removed, but it has usually already spread or invaded the bone by the time it gets large enough to cause symptoms. The cause of tooth resorption is not known. Tooth Resorption. Depending upon the severity of the gingivitis, cats may be hesitant to eat, may turn their heads unusually while eating, may stop eating, drool, or develop bad breath (halitosis). Pay attention to problems in your cat's mouth, such as bad breath or bleeding gums. Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions seen by veterinarians. 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). Fractured teeth are seen fairly commonly in cats, especially on the tips of the sharp canine teeth, which are prone to breaking off when something firm is bitten into. However, some cavities may form on the surface of the teeth, so you may detect them while performing an inspection of your cat’s mouth. Gingivitis is a condition in which the gums around the teeth become inflamed (red, swollen, and painful). Cavities in felines typically form under the gums, making them difficult to detect. Cats that are infected with FIV or FELV are more likely to develop stomatitis than other cats, and there are certain breeds of cats that are represented more highly as being affected by this condition. 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. It is important to use only tooth gel or toothpaste designed specifically for cats, as human products can be toxic to cats. Luckily for cats who have already developed gingivitis, the condition is usually reversible. Broken teeth are prone to developing infections and can be painful if left untreated. Females and cats over five years of age are more prone to tooth resorption. Dental problems are one of the most common problems vets encounter with cats. Ask-a-Vet is not manned by the staff or owners of CatHealth.com, and the advice given should not delay or replace a visit to your veterinarian. 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. Tooth resorption is a process in which the tooth structure breaks down, beginning inside the tooth, and often progressing to other parts of the tooth. The best way to prevent gingivitis in cats is to regularly remove plaque build-up by tooth brushing (see Figure 1). Periodontal disease is an infection caused by bacteria found in dental plaque. Most dental problems happen after the adult teeth have formed. 10 Signs of Oral Problems in Cats 1. As with all inflammation, this will lead to painful swelling. Clinical Signs/Diagnosis This problem is the most common oral disease found in cats, affecting up to 60 percent of domestic felines. Cats may keep their coats clean, but their teeth are a different story. Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. Week 3: Many people never see the inside of their cat's mouth. Some cats develop severe oral inflammation called stomatitis. Supporting Cat Health with Information and Health Studies. If gingivitis is not controlled, it can progress to periodontitis, a condition that eventually cannot be reversed. It is not the calculus itself that promotes an inflammatory response, but rather the bacteria that attach to the calculus. When plaque becomes hardened by absorbing minerals from both the saliva and from the gingiva itself, it is referred to as calculus or tartar. Dental health is an important part of your cat’s annual visit, and your veterinarian will use that time to evaluate your cat’s overall health as … There is little or no evidence that treating gingivitis with antibiotics alone is effective. Let your cat become familiar with the smell of the toothpaste. Stomatitis is treated with antibiotics, pain medications, tooth cleaning, and extraction of teeth. A complete evaluation of cats with periodontitis involves probing the gums, and examining X-rays of the head and jaw, which require anesthesia. While some cats require gradual introduction before they will allow regular tooth brushing, most cats can eventually be trained to accept this preventive measure. Just like a person, your furry friend needs regular dental checkups and cleanings with your vet to keep both him and his pearly whites healthy. Dental Problems in Cats. First, plaque builds up on the teeth, and then it becomes tartar. Although your veterinarian checks for these dental problems at your cat's annual wellness exam, you can look for several things that signify a veterinary visit is required. Follow this four-week training program to get your cat comfortable with daily brushing. In cases of feline gingivitis that are due to systemic or infectious underlying diseases, it is important to address the primary disease in order to manage the gingivitis. Periodontal disease, tooth resorption, stomatitis, malocclusions, oral tumors and oral trauma are all cat teeth problems that can occur. 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. Dental problems are the most common disease that we see in cats. But cats can suffer from dental issues that, if unchecked, can lead to serious health problems. Tooth Resorption The cat’s temperature will also drop sharply while sedated. 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. Brush your cat's teeth regularly. Like people, cats need to have their teeth cleaned regularly. Age Progression. By the time a defect like this shows up, the tooth is already significantly damaged. Eventually, plaque will migrate below this point to the subgingival region, where a cat’s immune system may mount a response to these bacteria, resulting in the inflammation that we refer to as gingivitis. Cats with oral cancer often drool excessively, act lethargic, drop food out of their mouths when they try to eat, paw at their mouths with their front paws, and often appear painful and lethargic. Most cats have some degree of periodontal disease by the time they are two or three years of age. Periodontitis Problems that cause toothache in cats include tooth decay, tooth resorption -- which is caused by decay below the gum line -- inflamed gums and fractured teeth. Thomas: You’re certainly in a tricky situation, Scarlet. Extracting all or most of the teeth is not as bad as it sounds. 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. Periodontitis is almost always the result of untreated gingivitis, so controlling this inciting process is crucial. Then, you will be transferred to a human. After all, cats don't smile by pulling their lips off their teeth, and it can seem like a dangerous thing to do, sticking your fingers in where they aren't welcome. These conditions are caused by a buildup of plaque and tartar between the teeth and the gums. Deciding whether a senior cat should have its teeth cleaned can be difficult. Gingivitis Apply a dab of toothpaste to one of his or her canine teeth every day, followed by a reward. 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. 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. When the teeth have actually rotted beyond repair work, they often fall out, and this is often the first sign of feline dental disease that cat owners discover. Some researchers believe that the onset of gingivitis may be caused by a shift in the populations of bacteria in plaque from normal, healthy species, to disease-causing species. Sign up for the FREE Cat Health Mewsletter. Gingivitis is an inflammation of a cat’s gums. The issue can develop in any of a cat’s 30 teeth. 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. Bad breath. Cat’s have evolved to eat meat, and not chew or grind plant material. Nowhere is this truer than with the senior cat, who often blesses us with the combination of multiple manageable conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, hyperthyroidism and dental disease, among others. Cats with stomatitis often develop ulcers on the soft tissues of the mouth, and they might drool excessively. Follow with a reward. 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. Give a reward when your cat licks the toothpaste so he or she associates the toothpaste with an enjoyable experience. 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. Does My Cat Have Toothache? Teeth can erode at varying speeds and different teeth may have different levels of deterioration. Veterinarians will usually make a diagnosis by examining the mouth and teeth, carefully probing any lesions, and examining X-rays of the head and jaw, which require anesthesia. When plaque formed from saliva and bacteria inside the mouth is left untreated, it turns into a yellow layer known as tartar. 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. Broken teeth are prone to developing infections and can be painful if left untreated. Oral cancer in cats is typically extremely aggressive, destroying the tissue around it and delving into the bone quickly. Cup his chin and slowly lift up his lip. The appropriate pain relief for your kitty's toothache depends on the treatment for the exact problems … The bacteria releases toxins below the gum line, that causes an inflammation of the gums known as gingivitis. Cat teeth are uniquely different from dogs; none of the teeth of cats have grinding surfaces. Cats do get bad teeth but they are not usually the same as cavities in humans. Dental disease in cats can cause serious pain and discomfort, which can impact a cat’s quality of life. Periodontal disease: The most common dental problem in cats is periodontal disease, which includes gingivitis and periodontitis. It is significantly easier to address and resolve dental issues that are spotted early, compared to dental issues that go unnoticed and are allowed to further develop. Bad breath, or halitosis, is common in cats. 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. Typically, cat teeth problems are signaled by bad breath, drooling, pawing the mouth and sometimes sneezing and coughing. Hold your cat’s head steady with one hand and use … Leave the brush and toothpaste out where the cat can inspect them. Often, cats with stomatitis rub at their mouths with their paws and have decreased or absent appetites. Calculus provides a rough surface that disease-causing species of bacteria can attach to. They can lead to bad breath, swollen and bleeding gums, loose teeth, and oral pain, and difficulty eating. In addition to these signs, they may show recession of the gingiva, exposure of tooth root surfaces, and mobility of the teeth. Week 4: 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. Oral cancer in cats also usually metastasizes, or spreads, too other areas of the cat's body quickly, particularly the lungs. This is visible as a hard cream or yellow colored deposit on the tooth enamel, typically found alongside the gumline. You can buy a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for your cat at your vet's office. In these cases, your veterinarian may consider amputating the crown of the tooth (the part visible above the gum line). Periodontal disease in cats is one of the most common and serious cat health problems-affecting approximately 70% of cats by the time they are 3 years old. Not only do kitties with dental problems have trouble eating and experience tremendous pain, their bad teeth can even lead to potentially fatal systemic infections. Cradle your cat from behind. In cases in which a cat is showing signs of pain or discomfort and the lesions extend into the crown of the tooth, it’s best to remove the tooth. An Indication of Disease or Injury. In many cases, dental disease causes a cat to stop eating, which leads to a variety of health problems. ~ Scarlet. So don’t skimp on your cat’s annual checkups. Begin by putting your cat’s toothpaste on your finger and offering it to them to lick. Aging cats are susceptible to dental issues like gum disease and feline tooth resorption, a disease in which teeth dissolve at the roots. Gingivitis may also be brought on by a number of infectious or systemic diseases, including feline leukemia virus, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline calicivirus, severe kidney disease, diabetes mellitus, and autoimmune disease. There are dangers to placing an older cat under anesthetic. In some cases, cats with gingivitis will show a preference for soft foods. 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. This problem arises when the integrity of the... Cracks and Fractures. The good news about the earliest phase of gum disease is that it's reversible with proper care. Older cats are susceptible to such problems as arthritis, obesity, vision and hearing problems and dementia, as well as a host of diseases such as diabetes, cancer, kidney or liver disease and thyroid problems. Resorptive lesions like these can vary in severity from relatively small defects at the gum line to large defects in the enamel of the tooth crown. Generally, the sooner the problem is identified, the easier and quicker it is to treat. It’s not normal for a cat’s breath to smell fishy or rotten. If you need to turn your head … 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. Week 1: Inspect your cat's teeth for tartar. Cancer of the mouth is diagnosed relatively commonly in cats, and the primary oral cancer seen in them is squamous cell carcinoma. Periodontal disease is a term used to describe infection and associated inflammation of the periodontium and begins with gingivitis. Decay is usually below the gum line. This disease under the gum line eventually leads to loosening of the teeth. https://www.petmd.com/cat/slideshows/8-common-dental-problems-cats You can learn more about it here: "Stomatitis in Cats.". Plaque, a thin coat of bacteria, accumulates on the teeth, then it progresses to tartar, leading to gum inflammation. In extreme cases of periodontitis, extraction of teeth, sometimes of numerous teeth, may be required. 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. Other times, the cause of cat teeth falling out can simply be due to age progression, usually at the age of 10 years or more. 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. Feline tooth resorption is another common dental issue. 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. This inflammation is usually the result of a process that begins with the buildup of plaque, a film that harbors bacteria, on the teeth. In cats with good oral health, the bacteria that live in this film are believed to be beneficial, and the plaque that harbors them accumulates above the line where the base of the teeth meets the gums (gingiva). Gingivitis is characterized by swelling, redness, discomfort, and, in severe cases, bleeding where the gums and the teeth meet (the gingival margin). By the time a cat shows unmistakable signs of mouth pain, such as drooling or teeth chattering, dental problems usually are well advanced. Get your cat used to the taste of the toothpaste. Good dental hygiene can prevent many dental conditions. If your cat has bad breath, it's crucial that you don't ignore it, thinking it's normal for cats to have a stinky mouth. This leads to infection and inflammation of the gums, and can sometimes cause teeth to become loose and fall out. Not only that, but the rest of the soft tissue in the mouth, including the tongue, roof of the mouth, and mucosal tissues can also be affected. Senior care, almost by definition, means being able to juggle many different factors and evaluating your patient as a whole. If he or she is shy about licking it, apply a dab near the mouth. If not regularly removed, plaque migrates deeper toward where the gingiva meets the base of the tooth. 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. Excessive drooling can be a sign of a variety of diseases or injury … Cats eat well without their teeth. Tooth resorption may or may not be associated with gingivitis. The exact cause of stomatitis isn't well understood by scientists yet, but it is thought to be an autoimmune process where the body overreacts to the bacteria in the mouth, attacking its own tissue along with the microbes. Instead, bring it up to your veterinarian, who can do a thorough oral examination and diagnose the source of the odor. Every day, put a dab on your finger, and let him or her smell and lick it. 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. The destruction of the tissues that attach the tooth to both the soft and bony structures that anchor the tooth may lead to loose teeth and tooth loss. Brush your cat's teeth once a month to keep his mouth healthy. Your veterinarian may recommend careful monitoring in cases in which lesions are limited to the tooth root and obvious discomfort is not apparent. Gingivitis. A mass in the mouth might be noticed and removed more quickly then, while it may still be treated effectively. The recommended treatment will depend upon how severe your cat’s case is and on the underlying cause, and may involve cleaning your cat’s teeth at home, giving him or her antibiotics (either taken as a pill or as an oral rinse), scaling of inflammation-inducing plaque from the teeth (which usually requires anesthesia), the use of immunosuppressive drugs, and in extreme cases, the removing of teeth that may serve as sources of inflammation. Place the bristles at a 45 degree angle to the teeth, aiming for the narrow crevice between teeth and gums. 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. Over time, calcium is deposited in the plaque which hardens into tartar or calculus. Checking for Dental Problems Lift your cat’s lips. There is a charge for the service if you choose to connect to a veterinarian. 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