Dental disease is common in cats and becomes more so as they get older. You would be likely to see a variety of signs. Your cat could seem interested in food but then approach the bowl and be reluctant to eat or chew cautiously. It may show obvious discomfort or drop food. Dribbling and bad breath are also quite common.
It is mostly due to an accumulation of tartar on the teeth. This is a hard, brown substance that can completely cover the tooth. This tartar leads to gum inflammation (gingivitis) and if left untreated will cause teeth to become loose and fall out. Cats suffer commonly from a problem called resorptive lesions, these are a progressive destruction of the tooth, resulting in “holes” in the teeth. Once the sensitive centre is reached, they are painful. Unfortunately, as part of this resorption process, the roots are often affected and they fuse into the bone and become very hard to remove. When we advise a dental is needed for your cat, it can be hard to quote accurately how much it will cost. This is because:
Some cats are not co-operative with having their teeth looked at closely whilst awake.
Tartar can cover the teeth and we cannot see if there are holes underneath, therefore we do not know until during the dental check whether the teeth need removing or just cleaned.
In reality, it is rare for a cat to have no holes at all and a few extractions are usually needed. We will give you an estimate of the likely cost of your cat’s dental before admission; if it turns out we have underestimated the work needed, we will endeavour to phone you before exceeding our estimate. Most cats will need a painkiller and an antibiotic course to treat infection. The best dental antibiotic only comes in tablet form. We would advise that this is given if possible. If you feel that your cat really will not take tablets, let us know at admission. If you have an old or unwell cat, we may advise pre-op bloods and they may need a drip during the general anaesthetic to support their kidneys. In these circumstances, additional charges will be incurred.