Feline Dental Health

 Feline dental health is a very important and sometimes overlooked part of a cat’s life. All cats should have their teeth examined as part of a regular physical every year and a dental exam done as needed. Cats have some dental issues that require intervention: resorption lesions and full mouth stomatitis.  Although dogs can get these diseases, they are more prevalent in cats. Resorption lesions cause tooth loss and affect 28-68% of adult cats (based on studies).  This disease leads to dental pain, tooth loss, decreased eating, salivation and head shaking.  The treatment for this disease is either tooth removal or crown removal.  Full mouth stomatitis is a painful disease where the entire mouth becomes inflamed  and raw; it is easily diagnosed by looking into the cat’s mouth.  Although Felv and FIV + cats tend to get this disease more often, it can occur in healthy cats.  It causes severe mouth pain, drooling, foul breath, decreased eating and tooth loss.  Although antibiotics can help some cases, the usual treatment is full mouth extractions.  This procedure can cost several thousand dollars.
Prevention of dental disease is better and less expensive than treating it.  You can brush your cat’s teeth—animal tooth brushes and tooth paste can be found in most pet stores and on line.  Getting a dental done on your cat every few years will also preserve its teeth and help keep it healthy.