Dental hygiene is a vital part of keeping your cat healthy and there are a choice of options to help maintain the strength and cleanliness of the cat teeth. Whether performing a cleaning at home or consulting a professional veterinarian, it is important to have regular checkups; otherwise the risks of infection and gum disease are increased, resulting in discomfort or even illness for your cat.
Most cats just don't like having our fingers in their mouths. So a little enticement is in order to get that cat more comfortable with the invasive measures involved in getting to their teeth. Food is always a good way to get the cat to become accustomed to the procedure you will need to perform, so dipping your finger in something the cat is fond of is a good start. Tuna, milk or even the wet food the cat eats should be sufficient. Let the cat lick the inviting taste from your finger.
Dip your finger in it again and try to rub the cat's teeth with the flavor, while they are enjoying the taste, you can make them feel more comfortable with you touching their teeth. Be careful that the cat doesn't bite, and the best way to avoid this is to be very gentle and don't make any sudden or aggressive maneuvers.
Once the cat feels comfortable with you touching the teeth, wrap a little bit of gauze around your finger and apply a mild sterile solution or pet toothpaste. Then begin to rub the teeth in a circular motion, making sure you don't forget the gums as well. It may be necessary to do a few teeth at a time, as most cats will not tolerate your finger for a long time, no matter how comfortable they become.
Professional Veterinarian Cleaning
Of course, much of the above is often easier said than done and it's very possible that no amount of gentle coaxing will make your cat comfortable with you sticking your finger in his mouth. Therefore a professional cleaning will be necessary.
First, the veterinarian will give the cat a quick examination to make sure there are no major infections and that the cat will not react adversely to any anesthesia. Then the cat will be given an injection, usually a sedative to calm the cat and then ketamine or other tranquilizers to make the cat unconscious.
The veterinarian will then use an ultrasonic scaler, which will remove tartar buildup along the gum line. After the cleaning, the veterinarian will check for any infected or diseased teeth. A simple test to see if any of them wiggle in their sockets will reveal if a tooth needs to be removed. If there are no infections, the veterinarian might polish the teeth as cleaning sometimes leaves microscopic scratches. Polishing will remove them, otherwise they could be collection bins for more tartar.