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Dental Care

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
How often should a cat be taken in to have its teeth cleaned? Should the teeth cleaning visits be more frequent with a senior cat?

post #2 of 9
I beleive that the general rule is once every couple years then yearly at the senior yrs ... I urge you to discuss your individual cat with your vet////

One of my senior animals hasnt had a dental since her teeth are good ... The other has had a few dentals after age 13 but likely I wont again since she is 18.5 and now putting her under is a big concern
post #3 of 9
It all depends on the cat. Some cats have a tendency to have poor teeth and need more frequent cleanings, while others can go for years without them because their teeth are just fine. Age by itself shouldn't be an exclusive factor in whether a cat can handle a dental. Odo just had one today, and he is at least 12, and probably closer to 14 years old. There are a lot of factors that go into whether it is safe to do a dental on an older cat, including kidney function and heart conditions.
post #4 of 9
Isnt there a home brushing routine that you can do? With kitty paste?
post #5 of 9
Personally I would not put my cat 'under' for the whole extreme teeth cleaning thing but maybe once or twice in their lives. Last time I took Zoey to the vet they did a 'manual' scraping with an instrument to get the tartar off and it took like 5 minutes, no anesthesia and her teeth look great. She is 4 years old. If I can do this every few years without anesthesia I think that's the way to go.
post #6 of 9
While manual scraping may make their teeth look better, it doesn't allow for a really thorough job in checking for diseased teeth or applying protective coatings to prevent future damage to the teeth. Again, every cat is different. Some may only need the occasional cleaning once or twice because their teeth are in good shape. Others, however, may have painful cavities in their teeth or pockets in their gums which make them prone to all kinds of other problems. The gum problems in particular can allow bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream, and this can cause damage to other organs if not treated. If your kitty's teeth and gums look good, then there is no reason to put her under for a thorough cleaning, but if the gums are red and inflammed, a manual scraping of the teeth won't help.
post #7 of 9
That is interesting, thanks. I am sure my vet would let me know if she had something weird going on with her gums and teeth. I still would plan to do a full cleaning at least once in her life. I just get concerned/worreid/scared with the whole anesthesia thing.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies.

When I had him at the vet yesterday for a blood test she looked at his teeth and said that he really needs to have them cleaned. I just need to get him scheduled, which will probably be around when he has another blood test in a few weeks.

post #9 of 9
Originally Posted by Sicycat View Post
I just get concerned/worreid/scared with the whole anesthesia thing.
Anesthesia is very scarey, but it can be done safely. When Spot came into my life, he was already a senior. A few months after coming to live with me, he had to have surgery to drain an abscess. When it didn't heal, he had to have the same surgery again. During one of the surgeries, the vet also did a dental on him. Spot was a pretty old kitty, probably 13-15 years old at the time. He had hyperthyroidism and a heart murmur. He came through both surgeries without any big issues (he was a little wobbly for a few hours afterwards, but recovered by the next day). That was 1.5 years ago, and the anesthesias that are used now are even safer. Odo had two fangs pulled during a dental yesterday. He wasn't wobbly at all afterwards, and he was eating again by last night. We think Odo is about 14 years old (I adopted him in June).

Anesthesia always has risks, but they are finding safer and safer chemicals. The best way to protect your cat is to have the vet run pre-op bloodwork and make sure they are using the newer safer varieties of anesthetic, like isoflurane or sevoflurane gas and propofol. If your cat has a heart murmur, they should have an echocardiogram done to check for heart disease--cats with heart problems are more at risk than other cats during anesthesia.

Here are some links to additional information about anesthesia (and one about dental disease). I complete understand not wanting to put your cat through these procedures, but sometimes they are necessary for their health:

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