Cats need dental care just like people do. However, it's understandable if you're nervous about what to expect, especially since feline dental care is a little different from people's. If you're interested in what to expect from your cat's dental examination and cleaning, read on to learn more.
Your very first step at the veterinarian's office will be a full visual examination. Your vet will look for signs of tartar, decay, and gum disease. If your vet detects that there could be problems, they may suggest x-rays. Dental x-rays will reveal problems going on deep inside the teeth, which could uncover problems that are invisible to the naked eye, like tooth resorption. Unfortunately, tooth resorption is a common problem for cats, so it's a good idea to agree to x-rays if your veterinarian suggests it.
If your vet thinks that your cat's problems can be resolved with a simple cleaning, they will suggest doing so. A dental cleaning for cats is extremely similar to what humans can expect. Your veterinarian will scale your cat's teeth to remove tartar, and carefully polish the surface to remove plaque and bacteria. They'll also clean around and under the cat's gum line to reverse gingivitis or periodontitis, the two main forms of gum disease.
However, the one big difference is that your cat will need to be placed under general anesthesia for the procedure. Cats do not respond well to dental care while awake, so this is an absolute requirement. There are some risks in general anesthesia for cats, so talk to your veterinarian if you have any concerns.
Lastly, if your vet uncovers previously unexpected problems, like severe tooth decay that requires an extraction, they will contact you to get your approval before performing the additional procedure.
When your cat's procedure is done, you'll be contacted to come pick them up. Most cats are a bit loopy for a while after receiving general anesthesia, and you'll need to follow some general guidelines for their safety. For example, it's a good idea to hold off on food until your vet says it's okay in order to reduce the risk of vomiting. Keep your cat indoors and watch them carefully for any problem signs, like bleeding from the gums.
Dental care is a necessity for all cats, so it's a good first step to contact a professional veterinarian. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.