You need to become more diligent at monitoring your cat's dental health if you want to help them avoid any dental issues. Here are some dental problems to watch out for in your cat and how they are treated.
Signs of Dental Issues in Your Cat
Pay attention to how your cat behaves when at the food dish as this may tip you off to a dental problem. Look for
- pawing at the mouth after eating
- excess drooling while eating
- foul breath odor from your cat
- lack of appetite and weight loss
At least once each week, take a look inside of your cat's mouth and inspect their teeth, gums, lips and cheeks. Should you spot any of the following dental issues, make an appointment for a pet dental care checkup with your veterinarian before the problem becomes severe.
Buildup of Brown or Yellow Material on the Teeth
This is plaque which is caused by food stuck to your pet's teeth. If left in place, plaque hardens into tartar, which then causes tooth decay and gum disease. Your vet can clean this material off of your cat's teeth before it causes a problem.
Swollen Gum Tissue
Plaque and tartar below the gum line will irritate the tissue, causing it to become inflamed. This is called gingivitis and is the beginning of painful gum disease. The gums will begin to pull away from the teeth and infection may be present. This causes your cat to have a foul breath. Your vet will put your cat on a schedule of antibiotics to clear up the infection. The cat dentist will also need to do a deep cleaning around the teeth with the infected gums to prevent more severe gum disease.
Bright Red and Bleeding Gums
When gingivitis becomes severe, the space between the teeth and gums becomes larger, allowing food to become trapped there. You'll also notice pus in these spaces and the gums may bleed. Your cat will be having pain in their mouth and may start drooling or pawing at their mouth frequently. A longer course of antibiotics is needed and the infection cleaned out of the pockets around the teeth.
Tissues Throughout the Mouth Are Inflamed
Eventually, the infection in the gums will spread to the lips and cheeks causing bright red and swollen tissues. This is called stomatitis and is a severe dental condition. Many of your cat's teeth will be infected and loose. Treatment may require pulling some or all of your cat's teeth and putting your cat on long-term antibiotics until all of the infection is cleared up. During this time, your cat may not eat and will loose weight.
For more information, talk to a professional like Clayton Veterinary Associates.