Dental Care For Cats - Why Bother?

Author: Dennis Wackerbarth, DVM

February 1, 2012

cat teeth

Dental health care, particularly in cats, was something veterinarians paid little or no attention to 30 years ago. Was it not an issue?

As cats have transitioned from outside cats to family members the veterinary community and cat owners have become more concerned about the quality and longevity of a cat's life. After having observed the significant negative impact dental disease has on the lives of cats, we were no longer able to ignore it any more than we could ignore a heart murmur. Then, after seeing dramatic improvements in cats' health and/or behavior after dental work had been done, even in what often appeared to be mouths with minimal outward concerns, veterinarians finally realized the true significance of dental disease. Subsequently the veterinary profession embarked on a public education campaign (Dental Health Month) to increase awareness about the importance of preventative dentistry.

Our frustrations include our patients' inability to communicate early discomfort/pain to anyone and the need to use a general anesthetic to perform a true dental cleaning. Due to a fear of anesthesia, dentistry is often postponed or ignored in the early phases and then acted on when significant problems have arisen. We really would like to be more proactive and do dental before cats are painful and before they require extractions. So, the first thing to do is go to the Cats Exclusive Dental Care page and then compare the photos there with what you see in your cat's mouth. Call us if you have any concerns. Let's work together and be proactive in preventing pain, tooth loss, and possibly even more significant health consequences.