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Your cat’s mouth and teeth are very important to their overall health and wellbeing. Your cat’s mouth and teeth should be examined every 6 months to evaluate breath, movement of tongue, gums, and tooth structure.


What all is involved with a dental prophylaxis? 

Dental cleanings and procedures cannot be performed with your cat awake. Therefore, your cat will be completely anesthetized and monitored for the entire procedure. Once your cat is anesthetized and intubated we begin the thorough evaluation and charting of your cat’s teeth. During this time we document any missing teeth, tooth decay, gingivitis, periodontal disease, tongue movement, discolorations in the mouth, etc. Next, we use the same hand scalers as a dentist to remove larger pieces of tartar and plaque from the service of the teeth. Once the larger pieces are removed, we switch to an ultrasonic scaler that removes smaller and microscopic pieces of foreign material from the teeth. This scaler has a delicate tip that can be used to clean underneath the gumline slowing down the progression of periodontal disease (a leading cause of tooth loss). Following, the scaling we then proceed with taking X-rays of your cat’s teeth. Did you know that 75% of the tooth is actually under the gumline? These X-rays (also known as radiographs) allow us to assess the entire root as well as the bone that the teeth are connected to. This step helps us verify and confirm any suspicions we may have had about teeth during the cleaning process and develop a plan for either treatment or extraction. If no extractions are necessary, a medium grit paste is used to smooth down the surface of the teeth after all of the scalings were performed. Next, we use a very fine grit prophy paste to completely polish and buff the surface of the tooth making it more difficult for bacteria to adhere. A fluoride solution is then carefully painted on each tooth. After the appropriate time has passed the residual fluoride is wiped off the surfaces of the teeth and each tooth is dried before applying a sealant to each tooth. This sealant will help keep the teeth protected for an additional two weeks following this thorough cleaning.

If your cat needed any extractions (teeth removed) they are surgically extracted after a local anesthetic block is used to deaden the area before the tooth and tooth roots are surgically removed. Once the teeth are removed, additional radiographs are taken to ensure that all of the tooth roots have been removed (these can cause issues later on if not completely removed). After confirming, a flap of gingival tissue is used to cover the area where the tooth once was and is sutured in place with a very small, soft, absorbable suture. If your cat had teeth extracted they will be going home with a liquid antibiotic that will need to be given for a week. The mouth contains many bacteria, and we want to make sure that an infection doesn’t happen. Your cat will also be given an injectable long-lasting pain injection so that you do not have to worry if your cat is experiencing pain. Sometimes, cats drool just like us after extractions due to the numbness they feel from the local anesthesia. This is completely normal. Dr. Gandy likes to recheck extraction sites 5-7 days following the surgical procedure to make sure things are healing appropriately and this is included with the initial dental fee.

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