Feline dental problems (Proceedings)


Feline dental problems (Proceedings)

Aug 01, 2011

It is often said that cats are not small dogs. It is equally important to realize that cats have not read the textbooks when it comes to dental problems. Feline dental problems can be very similar and very different from canine dental problems.

It is important to be able to identify oral pathology and anomalies. It is equally important to correctly record the pathology on dental charts. A thorough dental examination includes both conscious and anesthetized examinations as well as charting disease processes, pathology and anomalies, and treatment plans.

Being aware of dental formulas, oral anatomy as well as terminology is crucial to proper charting. Head type of the animal as well as malocclusions need to be noted.

Feline dental formulas:

Gingivitis index (gi):

The gingival index (GI) is a measurement of gingival health. The assessments of gingival changes are scored using the following criteria.

     0 - normal healthy gingiva
     1 - moderate inflammation, moderate redness, not bleeding on probing, edema
     2 - moderate inflammation, moderate to severe redness, edema, bleeding upon probing
     3 - severe inflammation, severe redness, edema, ulceration, spontaneous bleeding

Each tooth is given the most severe score.

Probe depth (pd):

Probe depth (PD) is a measure of the depth the periodontal pockets often found in periodontal disease. The probe depth is measured at multiple sites of the tooth. A periodontal probe with millimeter markings is gently placed between the free gingival and the tooth surface, and carefully advanced until soft tissue resistance is felt. The tip of the probe should be parallel to the long axis of the tooth. The pocket depth is recorded as the distance in mm from the free gingival margin to the bottom of the pocket. The probe may be glided or walked along the tooth to measure the varying pocket depths. A normal gingival sulcus depth is 1-3 mm in dogs and 0.5 to 1mm in cats. Measurements in excess of these values should be recorded in the appropriate location on the dental chart.

Gingival recession:

Gingival recession is also measured with the periodontal probe. It is the distance from the cemento-enamel junction to the margin of the free gingiva. At sites with gingival recession the probe depth may be normal despite the loss of alveolar bone. Areas of gingival recession should be noted on the dental chart.