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Bad teeth - what helps?

LittleMomma
August 2nd, 2007, 01:38 PM
Can bad teeth cause any harm to a cat? One of our kitties who we think is between 6-9 yrs old has awful teeth (abused stray for her whole life til we adopted her). In fact, she is missing some teeth up on top. Because of her age and surgical risk (overweight) I hesitate to have a cleaning done b/c of the anesthesia. Will this cause her any harm over time? Should I do the cleaning? Is there a less-invasive method to clean her teeth (like bring her to the vet, have them clean them without anesthesia)?

sugarcatmom
August 2nd, 2007, 02:30 PM
Can bad teeth cause any harm to a cat? One of our kitties who we think is between 6-9 yrs old has awful teeth (abused stray for her whole life til we adopted her). In fact, she is missing some teeth up on top. Because of her age and surgical risk (overweight) I hesitate to have a cleaning done b/c of the anesthesia. Will this cause her any harm over time? Should I do the cleaning? Is there a less-invasive method to clean her teeth (like bring her to the vet, have them clean them without anesthesia)?

Ya, bad teeth can potentially cause other serious problems like resorptive neck lesions or heart and kidney problems. I really don't think 6-9 yrs old is inherently an anesthetic risk, nor is being overweight, provided all her blood work comes back okay. I had a 10yr old, clinically obese (18lbs) cat go for a dental with no problems.

A dental without anesthetic really isn't an option. There is no way to properly clean below the gum-line with a conscious cat, and it also sounds like your kitty may need some teeth removed (or possibly roots of teeth that have broken off). The best thing would be to make an appointment with your vet for a check-up and a senior wellness panel and then go from there.

Here is a post by Dr. Lee on dentals without anesthetic: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?p=458691#post458691

And here's some other info on feline dental disease: http://www.all-about-cats.com/dental_disease.htm

Dr Lee
August 2nd, 2007, 03:31 PM
Bad teeth in a young middle aged cat (i consider 6-9 young to middle aged as my goal with all my cat patients is to get them to 20) can be a serious issue sometimes.

I would recommend a check up at your veterinarian to evaluate: 1) if the dental disease warrents a periodontal cleaning and 2) to rule out stomatitis.

Stomatitis is a disease characterized by marked gum inflammation (gingivitis) and often dental decay. The condition is, in my opinion, on of the most commonly overlooked painful ailements of pets. Because cats are such regularly good eaters, it is often difficult to identify dental pain in cats.

The American Veterinary Dental Association is strongly against any dental cleanings without the use of anesthesia. Why? 1) scaling causes microabrasions which cannot be adequately polished out while awake, 2) ir precludes dental charting/mapping and close evaluation (highly important to help identify dental disease that is not cosmetic) and precludes any dental radiographs (X-Rays) which may be needed.

Again for cats at 6-9 years, I perform dental procedures regularly. Of course it is a case by case basis and some pets at 14 years of age are better anesthetic candidates than pets at 4 years of age depending upon other health issues.

What can you do at home in lieu of a dental? Brushing if the cat will allow it. Oravet is a electrically charged wax polymer which bonds and seals to the teeth creating not only a barrier against dental build up but also help suffocate the bacteria adhering to the teeth. It is a very safe product. There are also some oral rinses for cats at pet stores.

Sometimes if gum inflammation is the only issue, then sometimes an antibiotic course is all that is indicated. Difficult to say; again a veterinarian evaluation would be a good idea.

Hope this helps. :pawprint:

LittleMomma
August 2nd, 2007, 05:56 PM
Well, I didn't know all that!! Glad I asked! She goes in for her check-up to get her stitches removed next week and I will most certainly inquire!

If I were to have her teeth cleaned periodically, will it help to lessen those aforementioned risks? Would even just one cleaning help out?

Dr Lee
August 2nd, 2007, 06:06 PM
Yes, even one cleaning will help. Everytime you clean, you reduce the bacteria load sitting on the teeth and gingiva. As far as stomatitis - since we don't understand why it occurs (as with most autoimmune diseases), the frequency of dental cleaning may or may not be related. :pawprint:

LittleMomma
August 2nd, 2007, 06:27 PM
Sorry for so many Q's! I want to be prepared for our appt. Is teeth cleaning a routine procedure in a vet's practice? How long does it take, and is the same type of anesthesia used as with a surgical procedure? And finally, how often would you recommend it to most patients? OH!... and if there is already some damage done from the bad teeth, will the cleaning help to reverse it?

I should add that she does drool from time to time and she has bad kitty breath! Our old vet before we moved told me to keep an eye on her teeth but I didn't quite know what that meant.

Dr Lee
August 2nd, 2007, 06:38 PM
Sorry for so many Q's! I want to be prepared for our appt. Is teeth cleaning a routine procedure in a vet's practice? How long does it take, and is the same type of anesthesia used as with a surgical procedure? And finally, how often would you recommend it to most patients? OH!... and if there is already some damage done from the bad teeth, will the cleaning help to reverse it?

I should add that she does drool from time to time and she has bad kitty breath! Our old vet before we moved told me to keep an eye on her teeth but I didn't quite know what that meant.

Yes - very routine

Usually pet stays for the day

Anesthetic is same as surgery

How often - as needed. Some pets every 6 months others a couple times a lifetime

Reverse it - fillings, replacements, root canals are all available however these are usually only through dental specialists. Some regular veterinarians are proficient in this. Dental radiographs would be needed for such treatments. These procedures can get a bit on the higher side of cost - although can be well worth it.

LittleMomma
August 2nd, 2007, 07:24 PM
thanks a million! Definitely going to bring it up at our follow up next week! I feel bad for having put this off for so long as I have known she's had bad teeth, I never knew it could cause so much potential damage! Hoping to get this taken care of in a hurry!! :pawprint: