How can I help my cat prepare for a dental appointment?

We will work together to prepare your cat for their dental appointment. This includes planning for preoperative lab work and assessment to ensure that they are healthy and able to undergo anesthesia for the procedure. Additionally, you should not feed your pet the morning of the procedure to decrease the risk of complications. We can also discuss any medications your pet should receive prior to the dental procedure, which will depend on an individual basis.

Dr. Ingrid Rhinehart
Briar Patch Veterinary Hospital

Why does my cat need anesthesia for a teeth cleaning?

Anesthesia is crucial for a full dental procedure because it allows us to evaluate each tooth in your cat's mouth thoroughly. We need to take full mouth x-rays, just like your dentist does, to examine the crowns and roots of all the teeth and evaluate any issues. Anesthesia also ensures that your cat's airway is protected during the cleaning process, which involves a lot of water.

Who monitors my cat while they are under anesthesia?

A dedicated veterinary technician monitors every patient while they are under anesthesia. We use multiple monitors to continuously track heart rate, respiratory rate, oxygenation, EKG, and temperature for each patient during the procedure.

Will my cat get any radiographs taken during the procedure?

Yes, we perform a full mouth evaluation with x-rays for every patient to ensure that we examine every single tooth and the associated bone and tissues. This helps us identify any issues that might be hiding under the gums and not visible to the naked eye.

How long does a cat dental appointment take?

The duration of a cat dental appointment depends on the severity of the dental disease. A general cleaning, full evaluation, and full mouth x-rays typically take less than half an hour of anesthesia time. However, your cat will be with us for the majority of the day for the appointment. Longer procedures with multiple extractions or surgical extractions may take more time.

If my cat needs extractions, will they receive pain medication?

Yes, every patient that undergoes extractions will receive pain medication. Most cats receive injectable pain medication, so you do not have to give them oral medications once they are home and their mouth is recovering. The specific pain medication and administration method may vary depending on the cat, but rest assured that all patients receive pain management after extractions.

Cat Dental - FAQs

Dr. Ingrid Rhinehart
Briar Patch Veterinary Hospital

How often should I brush my cat's teeth?

Ideally, you should brush your cat's teeth every single day. This is the best way to keep your cat's teeth healthy. However, if you can do it even a couple of times a week, that will still help your cat maintain good dental health. The goal is to brush as frequently as possible.

Are there any tips for making brushing my cat's teeth easy?

We recommend slowly training your cat to accept brushing of their teeth. Starting when they're young is the best way to do it, so they understand that it's a normal part of their day. Begin with a toothpaste that your cat really likes, and gradually get them to accept the toothpaste on a toothbrush. Then, start brushing their teeth for just a second or two, increasing the duration as they become more comfortable with the process.

What product should I use for my cat's teeth?

It's important to use a toothpaste specifically designed for cats. Human toothpaste is not safe for cats to swallow, while cat toothpaste is. Cat toothpaste also contains enzymes that continue to work in the cat's mouth even after brushing is complete. Choosing a cat-specific toothpaste will ensure your cat's safety and provide the best dental care.

Are there any other products you'd recommend to help brush your teeth?

When choosing a toothbrush for your cat, we recommend using a finger toothbrush. This is a small, rubber device with bristles that fits over the end of your finger. Most cats do not tolerate traditional toothbrushes, but a finger toothbrush allows you to gently brush your cat's teeth with more control and comfort for your pet.

Do I still need to brush my cat's teeth if I give them dental treats?

Yes, you should still brush your cat's teeth even if you provide them with dental treats. Dental treats can help improve dental health, but brushing their teeth is the most effective way to maintain good oral hygiene for your cat.

Can cats get cavities?

Cats can indeed get cavities, which are often referred to as resorptive lesions in cats. These lesions are different from traditional cavities in humans, as they involve erosion of the enamel and dentin, exposing the inside of the tooth. This can be very painful for cats. Resorptive lesions can be identified during a routine wellness exam or a special visit if your cat is experiencing discomfort.

Are there any toys that I can use to brush your teeth instead of a toothbrush?

While there are some toys that cats will play with that can help improve dental health, brushing their teeth remains the most effective method for maintaining good oral hygiene. It's essential to prioritize brushing your cat's teeth to provide the best dental care for your pet.

Cat Dental - FAQs 2

Dr. Ingrid Rhinehart
Briar Patch Veterinary Hospital

Why does my cat need anesthesia for a dental procedure?

Anesthesia is necessary for cat dental procedures because it allows the veterinarian to perform potentially painful actions, use water for cleaning and polishing without the risk of the cat inhaling it, and take full x-rays of the cat's mouth. If extractions are required, full anesthesia is especially important.

Are there ever any circumstances when a cat can get their teeth cleaned without any anesthesia?

No, anesthesia is crucial for protecting the cat's airway during the dental procedure. The cleaning process involves a scaler with a lot of water, just like at a human dental appointment. Since cats cannot be taught not to swallow or inhale the water, an endotracheal tube is placed in their throat to protect their airway while under anesthesia.

Why are antibiotics and pain medications sometimes prescribed for my cat's dental care?

Pain medications are necessary to provide relief after any painful or extraction procedures in the cat's mouth. Antibiotics, on the other hand, are prescribed less frequently and are only necessary if there is a severe infection, an abscess, or extensive surgical procedures performed in the mouth.

Is there any way I can know if my cat will have a reaction to the anesthesia?

It is natural for pet owners to be concerned about anesthesia risks. Veterinarians do everything they can to minimize these risks by conducting a thorough evaluation of the cat before the procedure. This includes full lab work and a pre-surgical EKG to check for any cardiac concerns. If any issues are found, further investigations are carried out before proceeding with anesthesia. If you have more questions or concerns, it is best to consult with your veterinarian.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (607) 272-2828, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook and Instagram