There may be times when your cat has experienced dental damage or decay that is beyond repair and needs to be addressed immediately. Here, our Natick vet dentists discuss the reasons that your cat may need a tooth removed and what you can expect if they require tooth extraction surgery.
Cat Dental Extractions
A cat tooth extraction is when a tooth is surgically removed by a veterinary dentist. During the extraction process, your cat will be put under general anesthesia. This keeps them comfortable, prevents them from struggling, and allows our veterinary team to safely complete the extraction.
When Are Cat Tooth Extractions Necessary?
In most cases, a cat will have to have a tooth removed due to decay or advanced gum disease caused by poor oral hygiene. When a tooth is damaged beyond repair, it is important to remove it to prevent infection and pain caused by the decayed tooth.
After your cat has its diseased tooth or teeth removed, you should speak to your vet dentist about the proper home care for your cat to prevent their other teeth from becoming similarly decayed. You should also be sure to bring your cat in for regular professional dental cleanings and examinations. Good dental care is essential to your kitty's oral and overall health.
Besides the common cause of gum disease and decay, your cat may also need a tooth removed for the following reasons:
- Fractured or broken teeth - Broken teeth can lead to painful abscesses and infection.
- Deciduous teeth - Baby teeth that do not fall out on their own may need to be removed.
- Oral tumors - The treatment of tumors may involve the extraction of nearby teeth.
- Orthodontic abnormalities - Just like humans, sometimes cats have teeth where they don't belong.
Recovery After Cat Tooth Extractions
Teeth all are held into our mouths by roots. In cats, as many as three roots can be holding an individual tooth. To fully extract a tooth, all roots must be removed.
During your cat's dental surgery they will be under the effects of anesthesia. When they wake up they may be groggy or lethargic for the remainder of the day - this is completely normal.
As the recovery from this procedure is relatively quick, you should be able to bring your pet home on the same day as the procedure. If your pet eats primarily hard kibble, you can soften it in warm water before serving it for the first few days.
Concerning Symptoms To Watch For After Tooth Extraction Surgery
While cats typically heal well after tooth extraction surgery, there may be occasional instances of complications during the recovery process. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are:
- A foul odor coming from your cat’s mouth
- A slight swelling on the lower or upper jawline, or under the eye area; the eye may also seem to bulge or protrude from your cat’s head
- Refusal of food
- Drainage from the nose or mouth
- General sluggishness
- Pawing at the mouth or rubbing their face on the ground
- Dropping food while eating
You may also notice traces of blood in your cat's saliva. While this is normal, there should not be any significant bleeding. If there is, contact your veterinary dentist immediately.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.