Dental Problems

Jun 9, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

Have you or someone you loved ever had problems with their teeth? Dental pain from abscesses, tooth fractures and deep cavities can make life miserable for anyone, including our cats. Pain can be sharp and stabbing, a dull ache, or associated with pressure on contact with hot or cold foods.

Our cats can’t tell us when their mouths hurt. Instead, they may eat less, refuse hard kibbles, or tilt their head back and forth to avoid the sensitive spots when eating. They may drop food. Chronic pain can cause your friendly and happy cat to become irritable or reclusive.

I rechecked one of our dentistry patients today after he had some major dental work done last week. This wonderful cat, who we will call Oscar, was brought in to see us because he had not been as interactive as usual and was hiding quite a bit. On physical examination, we could see that Oscar had quite a bit of inflammation in his mouth but no obvious fractures of his teeth. Oscar seemed uncomfortable when his mouth was examined. We scheduled Oscar’s dental teeth cleaning for the next day.

Cats frequently develop cavity lesions at the gum line or underneath the gums. Consequently, obtaining dental X rays is very important to evaluate every cat’s mouth. Any dental work in cats and dogs needs to be performed under anesthesia as they will not sit there and open their mouths for us to work on!

Oscar had 2 abscessed teeth (both of his lower canine teeth) and 3 additional teeth with large cavity lesions. All 5 teeth had to be extracted. Oscar was treated with antibiotics and pain medication.

At today’s follow up examination, Oscar is now pain free. He is eating his dry kibble with gusto and is no longer painful when handling his mouth. Oscar’s extraction sites are healing well. Oscar’s family is amazed that he is now back to his normal social self less than a week after major extractions were performed. Oscar is a great example of how important good dental health is for our cats. Oscar will now be having his teeth brushed and will be eating a prescription dental diet to help prevent future problems. What are doing to help your cat’s teeth? Oscar says to have your cat’s teeth evaluated by your veterinarian now!

Dr Tammy Sadek

Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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  • Sandra Murphey

    Please explain how this is a “dental diet”? This is no different than I see on other crappy food.

    Hill’s ingredients:

    Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal,
    Whole Grain Corn, Powdered Cellulose, Pork Fat, Chicken Liver Flavor,
    Calcium Sulfate, Lactic Acid, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Choline
    Chloride, DL-Methionine, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement,
    L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement,
    Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate,
    Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine
    Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, Iodized
    Salt, Calcium Carbonate, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper
    Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Mixed
    Tocopherols for freshness, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Natural
    Flavors.

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