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Just Cats Veterinary Clinic offers many services to help maintain oral health in our feline patients. These services include oral health counseling, professional dental cleanings, dental digital x-ray, and surgical tooth extraction. Kimberly Demars, one of our Licensed Veterinary Technicians, has completed the rigorous 2 year program and associated examinations with the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians in 2015. She is now credentialed with her Veterinary Technician Specialty in Dentistry. She works with our skilled veterinarians to ensure only the best oral health for each of our patients.
Have you looked in your cat’s mouth lately? Cats, just like people, need to have regular dental check ups. Oral disease is present in most cats over the age of 3. Although daily brushing is recommended, the reality is only a small percentage of owners are able to brush their cat’s teeth. Oral disease, if left untreated, can lead to pain and discomfort, behavior changes, heart disease, kidney failure, and even cancer.
Each year you cats mouth is examined during the annual exam by the veterinarian. If there are signs of periodontal disease it will be recommended that your cat be scheduled for a dental procedure under anesthesia. At this time a more thorough exam can be performed on each tooth and digital dental X-rays can be taken to help access problems that may be present under the gum line.
A complete dental prophylaxis starts with your cat being admitted in the morning with no food after 6 am. Your cat will be staying for the day in a cozy space with big cozy blankets. A weight and flea check will be done and a mild sedative will be given orally to help your kitty feel calm and relaxed. An injectable anesthesia is given in the vein, which will completely sedate your cat. At this point a breathing tube is placed and a gas anesthesia mixed with oxygen is administered throughout the tube. This keeps our patients under anesthesia and pain/stress free so they can have their teeth assessed, cleaned, and extractions performed if necessary. Each patient is attached to a comprehensive monitor that assess heart rate, oxygen concentration, temperature, blood pressure, and ECG, throughout the entire dental procedure.
A dental exam is performed first by one of our veterinarians and the dental technician. To do this we probe to check all angles of each tooth. We look for pockets, lesions, or decay. Sometimes even if our patient is under anesthesia, it’s jaw will chatter in pain if there is a lesion of infection present.
After a full dental exam is complete, full mouth digital dental X-rays are taken. X-rays are taken to check for problems under the gum line that cannot be visualized on regular oral exam. We generally find problems like tooth resorption, bone loss, abscess, tissue abnormalities, and bone infection on X-ray. This will help determine which teeth should be extracted, if any.
The teeth are cleaned using an ultrasonic scaler, polished, and a fluoride treatment is applied. These steps remove tartar buildup and re-establish a smooth protective surface on the teeth.
If extractions are needed an oral nerve block is performed to block the nerve response to minimize pain. Each site is flushed with an anti microbial solution and sutured with absorbable suture. Post extraction dental X-rays may be performed to ensure complete extraction of all roots.
Following the dental procedure our patients are recovered in a warm cozy environment. It may take your kitty a few days to fully recover from anesthesia. Although in most cases we send our patients home the same day, they may still be groggy and have a decreased appetite for a few days following the dental procedure. Most cats heal quite quickly from extractions needing only a few days of pain medication and about a week of antibiotics.