Identifying Common Feline Dental Diseases

A few things are pretty predictable with cats. They will scratch your favorite furniture. They’ll purr if you find that one spot under their chin that they just can’t reach. They will walk across your computer keyboard while you’re on a Zoom call. 

And, there’s a good chance they will develop some type of dental disease at some point.

Data suggests that as many as 90% of cats over the age of four develop some form of feline dental disease in their lives. However, the most common feline dental diseases are often either treatable or preventable, even if a cat isn’t the greatest team player about it. 

The fact that feline dental diseases are either preventable or treatable makes cat dental care, especially affordable cat dental cleanings, that much more valuable for cat owners. It’s one of the reasons Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit offers affordable pet dental cleanings, to make sure that pet owners have the opportunity to get care for their animals without the barrier of a high financial burden. 

Common Cat Dental Diseases

Cats most often develop one of three common dental diseases. It isn’t uncommon for cats to develop gingivitis — also known as stomatitis — periodontitis or tooth resorption. Symptoms and treatment vary for all three, however gingivitis and periodontitis are connected. 

Vet tech in bright blue scrubs holding an orange cat in operating room

A cat with stomatitis will experience inflamed, red and sore gums due to plaque build up, which keeps bacteria lodged against the teeth and gums. Stomatitis develops when that plaque isn’t removed through regular dental cleanings, done at home by a cat’s owner or by a professional veterinarian — like the specialists at Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit. The best preventative approach involves a hybrid of both at-home cleanings and professional cleanings, to ensure that everything possible is being done to keep plaque at bay.

Periodontitis results when stomatitis advances. This degenerative cat dental disease is characterized by a weakening of the gums and bones that hold teeth in place. Depending on the degree to which the periodontitis has progressed, there becomes a point where treatment can not reverse its impact, which means tooth loss is sometimes an inevitable outcome. 

And, when extractions are needed, the team at Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Vet is there to help cat owners not only schedule and get through the procedure but also receive affordable cat dental care.

Tooth resorption, while common among cats, may or may not be associated with gingivitis or periodontitis. It can be a painful condition, as it is the most common cause of tooth loss in cats. As the structure of the tooth begins to deteriorate, from the inside first, cat owners may notice a pinkish hue where the tooth meets the gumline. 

Depending on the severity of the tooth resorption and the pain the cat is in, a professional veterinarian will determine a course of treatment that involves monitoring the tooth or removing it altogether.

To avoid degenerative cat dental diseases, and to be able to identify cat dental problems early, the team at Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit encourages cat owners to commit to a professional preventative dental cleaning once a year and keep up with ongoing cleanings at home as often as possible.

Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a trusted veterinary team serving the Phoenix, Peoria, East Mesa, and Tucson metro areas, with accessible locations in each market, offering highly specialized surgery, quality spay and neuter procedures, and accessible dental care for pets. Contact us to learn more about our specialized services or to schedule an appointment.  

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