cat teeth

10 Pet Dental Health Questions and Answers

  1. How many teeth does my kitten have? 26 deciduous teeth.
  2. How many teeth does my adult cat have? 30 teeth.
  3. How many teeth does my puppy have? 28 deciduous teeth.
  4. How many teeth does my adult dog have? 42 teeth.
  5. Why does my pet have bad breath (halitosis)? Bad breath usually comes from an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. Some bacteria can produce sulfur compounds as waste products, which produce an undesirable odor.
  6. How often should I brush my pet’s teeth? Once daily is ideal.
  7. Can I scale my pet’s teeth at home? No, there is no way to effectively scale your pet’s teeth at home. While it may look like you are making a difference for the teeth cosmetically, proper and thorough scaling must be performed with the pet under anesthesia.
  8. Why is anesthesia necessary to scale my pet’s teeth? Non-anesthetic cleaning only provides a cosmetic improvement for your pet’s teeth. A proper dental prophylaxis involves a thorough oral examination, scaling and polishing of the teeth. Scaling is the process of removing tartar above and below the gum line (using an ultrasonic scaling device and hand scaling tools). Polishing is the process of “smoothing” the tooth surfaces after scaling. This makes the teeth more resistant to future plaque and tartar formation. Proper polishing of the teeth is very important and should always be performed following scaling. An awake pet will not allow their teeth to be scaled and polished properly, which may lead to even more dental disease issues in the future.
  9. Why does my pet need to have teeth extracted? Teeth often need to be extracted because of severe periodontal disease, abscessed tooth roots, fractures, resorptive lesions, misalignment, and other problems that may cause discomfort or difficulty chewing.
  10. My pet has both deciduous teeth and adult teeth in place. What should I do? This is a very common problem, especially among small breed dogs. The deciduous teeth must be extracted (if they do not fall out on their own) once the adult teeth have fully erupted to avoid future orthodontic problems.

canine teeth models

 

Cat mouth model inside a dog mouth model. Showing off the “dirty” side. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cat mouth model insidecanine and feline mouth model good side a dog mouth model. Showing off the “clean” side.

Periodontal Disease Takes the Stage

STAGE 1

  • Plaque (a transparent film of bacteria, cells and food particles) forms and sticks on tooth surfaces
  • Plaque build up causes bad breath and redness or inflammation of the gum line (gingivitis)

STAGE 2

  • Plaque can begin to calcify within 72 hours and form tartar (a visible shell on the outer surface of the tooth)
  • Increased inflammation of the gums becomes evident and may cause bleeding at the gum line

STAGE 3

  • Tartar stuck on the tooth surfaces is covered with newly formed plaque
  • The bacteria in plaque secretes toxins and enzymes which cause further inflammation of surrounding periodontal tissues
  • With continued gingivitis, some loss of tissue attachment begins at the gum line and leads to the beginning stages of bone loss around tooth roots
  • The mouth can be quite painful and uncomfortable when eating

STAGE 4

  • Recession of the gums due to tartar buildup
  • Gingivitis may progress to infection of the tissues and bone around the tooth roots and the tooth (or often a few teeth!) may need to be extracted
  • A change in eating habits may be noticed – either not wanting to eat at all or swallowing food without chewing

Throughout all stages of periodontal disease, bacteria can be picked up and carried by the bloodstream to the liver, kidneys and heart. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily and feeding them an appropriate dental diet can help decrease oral bacteria and stop dental disease in its tracks.

ImageBefore dental cleaning – active bacteria and tartar glows pink under special fluorescent dental light.

 

ImageBefore dental cleaning – brownish tartar is visible on tooth surfaces, redness of gum line evident.

 

ImageAfter dental cleaning – teeth glow bright white under special dental fluorescent light, no more tartar or plaque on teeth.

 

ImageAfter dental cleaning – clean teeth with small amount of gingival bleeding.

**Thank you to our wonderful mouth model, Daisy, a 4 year old Maltipoo.

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