Just like their canine counterparts, cats need proper dental care in order to stay healthy. While cats don't chew on things as much as dogs and aren't as easily susceptible to most major dental diseases until later in life, they can still suffer from common issues like cavities, rotting teeth, or other dental-related problems that need attention. If your cat needs to see the dentist to have a procedure done or to get a cleaning, here's what you need to know about the procedure so you and your feline friend can be prepared.
Your cat dentist will usually schedule the appointment early in the day so your cat can get acclimated and receive the proper sedation to calm them down. Your kitty will first be examined and blood will be drawn to make sure they don't have any allergies to the anesthesia. Then, your cat will receive a light sedative and be placed in a small area where they can rest until it's time to be treated. When the dentist is ready to see your cat, the dentist will give your cat an intravenous catheter and general anesthesia to put them to sleep temporarily.
Once your cat is asleep, the veterinary dentist will place a breathing tube in their windpipe to keep the airway open. They will take a closer look at all of your cat's teeth to look for any signs of loose teeth, broken teeth, or serious problems like cavities. The dentist will then use a scraper tool to remove any excess plaque from the surface of your cat's teeth. This process is known as scaling. Once all visible plaque has been removed by hand, the dentist will flush any remaining loose tartar out of your cat's mouth. The teeth will then be polished with a small rotary instrument to give them a smooth surface to help slow down the formation of more plaque in the future.
Depending on the condition of your cat's teeth, the dentist may have to perform an extraction of one or multiple teeth. Since your cat is under anesthesia, they will not feel any pain. Extraction is usually only performed if a tooth is deemed unsalvageable and is under extreme decay, rot, or disease that cannot be treated. Some veterinary dentists will then apply a laser to the extraction site to help your cat's gums heal more quickly. After all dental procedures are complete, your cat will be moved to a quiet resting area where they can wait for the medication to wear off before you come to take them home. After your cat visits the dentist, be sure to monitor their progress and if you notice any changes in eating habits or behavior, contact your veterinary dentist immediately.