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Cat Dental Cleanings: Your Questions Answered!

February 22nd, 2016 by Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

Maggie cuddles with Butterscotch before bringing her kitty in for a cat dental cleaning.

Did you grow up with cats? Or, have you had a cat for many years? If yes, it may seem strange to go to the vet for cat dental cleanings.

But cats need dental care just like people!

As with human medicine, veterinary medicine continues to evolve and get better. Over the last decade, cat dental cleanings have become common. They’re a great way to help your kitty avoid health issues and live a longer and healthier life.

Our Castle Rock vets have created this article to answer your questions about cat dental cleanings. We hope to put your mind at ease about:

  • Why it makes sense to get your cat’s teeth cleaned
  • How often your cat needs a dental cleaning
  • What you should expect from the teeth cleaning procedure
  • How safe these procedures are

Regular cat dental cleanings can protect cats, like Bandit, from periodontal disease.

Why a cat dental cleaning is necessary

Do you know the most common disease in adult cats?

It isn’t worms, or urinary tract infections, or even kidney disease.

It’s periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease affects as many as four out of five cats by the time they’re four years old. This disease can be painful for your cat, making it tough to eat. It can affect your cat’s liver, kidney and bladder function. It even can shorten your cat’s life.

Cats also are prone to “resorptive lesions” — open wounds along the gum line. Bacteria can get down into the roots of your cat’s teeth, causing pain and infection.

And this is where a cat dental cleaning comes in!

Regular dental cleanings minimize both these issues. They greatly lower the chance your cat will lose any teeth. (Less pain for your cat. Less pain for your wallet!)

Want to keep your kitty healthy?

Schedule a cat dental cleaning. Call our Castle Rock vets at 303-688-3757. Or:

Request Appointment

How often cat dental cleanings are needed

It depends on your feline friend.

Some cats never need cleanings. Some need them once a year. Some need them more often.

If you visit our Castle Rock veterinary clinic, we’ll check your cat’s teeth every year. This is part of our annual exam. (Or, you can schedule a complimentary dental evaluation at any time.)

Once we begin to see gum redness and irritation, it’s time to schedule a cat dental cleaning.

Sophie snoozes on Tim's leg the day after her cat dental cleaning.

Want to be on the lookout for cat dental issues at home?

Check out this article on periodontal disease for common symptoms and signs.

Keep in mind, cats are good at hiding pain, and their teeth may look white. You may not notice your cat’s gums are inflamed — or that your kitty has started drooling more than usual. And cats don’t tend to get the bad odor that dogs get with periodontal disease.

In other words, it helps to have a veterinarian take a look. We’re here to support you!

Smoky spends a lot of time outdoors, making it harder for his pet parents to check his teeth.

How a cat dental cleaning procedure works

If you come into our Castle Rock veterinary clinic, we’ll clean your cat’s teeth while he or she is sedated.

When you bring your little one in, we’ll give your kitty a pre-anesthetic to take the edge off. We’ll rest your cat in a separate room just for kitties to help keep your feline friend calm.

When your cat is fully sedated, we’ll check your cat’s teeth, tongue and back of the mouth. We’ll clean the parts of the teeth you can see, as well as the parts below the gum line. We’ll polish away plaque-collecting divots. We’ll probe each tooth for looseness, pockets and disease. And when needed, we’ll take x-rays to check for root damage.

(Read more about the benefits of anesthetic teeth cleanings.)

Keeping your cat safe and relaxed during a dental cleaning

You may be wondering, are cat dental cleanings with anesthesia safe?

If you visit a reputable veterinary clinic — such as Cherished Companions — our veterinarians do everything we can to minimize any risks.

For example, to help keep your cat safe, we:

  • Give you the option to have us run blood work when your cat arrives, so we can check for common issues that may affect the procedure.
  • Tailor the anesthesia to your cat to make the dental cleaning as safe as possible.
  • Monitor your cat’s oxygen level, heart rate and blood pressure to ensure your cat is responding well.
  • Set up an IV with fluids, so we can stabilize your cat’s blood pressure and quickly provide medication, if needed.

Grayson catches a comfortable cat nap. His teeth are clean!

What to expect from the recovery process

Our veterinarians like to make sure your cat is fully awake before going home. Following a cat dental cleaning, we’ll take your cat back to our dedicated kitty room to recover and reduce any stress.

You may notice a little grogginess at home.

In these instances, we suggest you rest your kitty in a kennel with an open door or on a blanket in a dry bathtub. When your cat can get out on his or her own, your little one is ready to be up and moving around.

If you have multiple cats in your family, your cat may hiss and be standoffish with your other kitties for a few days. This is normal. There can be a slight readjustment period with other cats in your household.

Aftercare … and ongoing dental care at home

Home dental care plays a big part in keeping your cat’s teeth and gums healthy!

Whatever dental care you can give at home — cat teeth brushing, dental chews, oral rinses — can lengthen the time between cat dental cleaning appointments.

To learn more about what you can do at home, check out our favorite pet dental products.

Our veterinarians are happy to answer your questions as well.

Schedule a complimentary dental evaluation

If you live near Castle Rock, you’re welcome to bring your cat in for a complimentary dental checkup. You’ll learn what dental care your cat needs (if any) and how much a cleaning will cost. Call us at 303-688-3757. Or:

Request Appointment

Cherished Companions Animal Clinic is a veterinary clinic in Castle Rock, Colorado. Specializing in the care of cats and dogs, our goal is to help you and your pet feel more comfortable, keeping your stress to a minimum.

This article is intended to provide general guidance on cat dental cleanings. If you have specific questions or concerns, please contact your local veterinarian. (If you live in or around Castle Rock, we welcome your call.)

© 2016, Cherished Companions Animal Clinic

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