Oral swellings are never normal in a cat's mouth. Oral swellings occur from diseases such as local trauma, infection, fluid accumulation and cancer.
Oral fibrosarcomas are the second most common malignant oral tumor in cats. These tumors arise from the connective and fibrous tissues of the oral cavity. These tumors may spread to the underlying bone causing pain. Treatment involves surgical removal of the tumors and radiation treatment may be considered if surgery is incomplete.
The most common oral tumor seen in cats is squamous cell carcinoma; the second most common is fibrosarcoma. Both of these tumors are locally aggressive, can grow to a large size very quickly, ulcerate, and cause considerable pain. Diagnosis may be performed through fine needle aspiration or biopsy. Metastasis to organs is not common with both tumor types; however, staging is recommended to choose therapy. Surgical excision provides the best control but may not be possible in some cases. Radiation therapy may provide some benefit either for primary control or after surgery.
Occasionally, teeth in cats do not come out in the right location, which may create pain when they close their mouths. When this happens, decisions on what to do come down to either moving the teeth to comfortable positions, decreasing the height of the teeth so they do not stick into the opposite jaw, or moving the teeth to comfortable and functional positions.
Plaque forms on teeth shortly after eating and within 24 hours begins to harden and eventually turns into tartar. Tartar serves as a place for bacteria to grow, leading to gingivitis. As gingivitis worsens, periodontal disease develops which includes inflammation, pain, and tooth loss. Prevention of plaque and tartar build-up is key; use VOHC accepted food and/or water additives, wipe or brush your cat’s teeth daily, and have your veterinarian perform regular dental cleanings.
Like humans, cats have two sets of teeth in their lives. There are 26 deciduous teeth, also known as their primary, baby, milk, or kitten teeth, and 30 permanent teeth, also known as their adult teeth.
Dental X-rays in cats are similar to those taken in humans. In many cases, intraoral dental X-rays are necessary to identify and treat dental problems in your cat. Nearly two-thirds of each tooth is located under the gum line. Your cat will need to be anesthetized in order to accurately place the X-ray sensor and perform a thorough oral assessment, treatment, and prevention procedures.
Tooth resorption (TR) is one of the more common oral abnormalities seen in cats. In the past, tooth resorption was referred to as feline oral resorptive lesions, odontoclastic resorptions, cavities, caries, cervical neck lesions, external or internal root resorptions, and cervical line erosions.
A tooth root abscess is a severe infection that develops around the root of a tooth usually occurring from a broken or traumatized tooth.
Cats can have misalignment of the teeth much like people. In people, orthodontic care can be used to perfect a pleasing smile or create a functional bite. In cats, the goal is to make the mouth functional and pain free. Often this involves moving, reducing the height of, or extracting teeth.