Feline Oral Health: Common Dental Issues

cat teethWhile the most common complaint about a cat’s dental health is smelly breath, there are a number of oral issues that can greatly affect the health, well-being, and life-span of your feline companion. Proper care and regular monitoring of your cat’s mouth is instrumental to your cat’s overall health.

Tooth Resorption

Though one of the most common oral issues seen in cats, tooth resorption is not well understood. The lower premolars are most commonly affected, but any tooth can develop lesions. Resorption is painful once the nerve of the dentin is exposed and causes difficulty eating, bleeding, jaw spasms, and drooling. However, many cats suffer in silence so regular dental cleaning and treatment is important to catch resorption lesions in their early stages. Extraction is often necessary if the lesion is sufficiently advanced.

Gingivitis and Stomatitis

Gingivitis is the most common dental issue in humans and cats. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by an immunological response to plaque on the teeth. Daily build-up of plaque biofilm, if left untreated, can eventually lead to periodontal disease and the loss of teeth and bone structure.

Stomatitis is a severe oral inflammation brought on by a sustained immunological response that develops as the cat eventually becomes allergic to the plaque build-up in its mouth. Extracting all teeth behind the canines is required to remove the irritant, though the front teeth may need to be pulled to completely remove all plaque-retentive surfaces.

Malocclusions

Occlusion refers to the “bite” or the normal alignment of the teeth with the upper incisors just overlapping the lower incisors, the lower canines fitting just between the incisors and upper canines, and the premolar and molar crowns interlocking in the back of the jaw.

Malocclusion indicates an abnormal tooth alignment that is either skeletal or dental in origin. Skeletal malocclusion refers to issues with the jawbone while dental malocclusion results from one or more teeth being out of proper alignment. Malocclusions can cause trauma and damage to the soft tissues of the mouth as well as damage and infection to other teeth. This condition requires treatment including extraction, moving teeth, or surgical work on the jaw bone to create more room or to realign the bones.

Please contact us for more information about feline dental issues.