If your cat's tooth is badly damaged, your vet may suggest removing it. In this blog, our Lebanon vets discuss what you can expect from a cat's tooth extraction surgery.
Tooth Extractions in Cats
A cat tooth extraction is when a veterinarian surgically removes your cat's tooth. Extractions can go as deep as the roots or might stop at removing the dental crown (the part of the tooth that is visible above the gums)
The Necessity of Removing Cat Teeth
When a tooth is damaged to fix, it's important to take it out to stop infection and pain. This damage usually comes from gum disease.
Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on your cat's teeth that eventually hardens into a substance called calculus or tartar. When not removed, the hardened tartar will cause pockets of infection between the gum line and the teeth, leading to gum erosion and tooth decay. You can help prevent gum disease with at-home dental care and regularly scheduled professional dental appointments.
Cats can also get feline tooth resorption, which makes their teeth erode and break down. Unfortunately, there's no way to prevent this, and the affected teeth usually have to be removed.
Cat Tooth Extraction Process
When your cat needs a tooth extraction, they will be put to sleep with special medicine by a cat dentist. His is done to make sure your cat is safe and comfortable. Before the surgery, your vet will probably suggest some in-house tests, like bloodwork, X-rays, or an EKG, to check if your cat is healthy enough for the anesthesia.
During the surgery, your cat will be continuously monitored by a veterinary technician who will administer pain medication and ensure your cat's vitals remain stable.
Depending on the teeth being removed, including their size and location, your vet may use a variety of techniques for the extraction.
Recovery From a Tooth Extraction
After your cat's tooth extraction, they might feel sensitive for 1-2 weeks. If it's a more complex procedure, your vet might prescribe pain relief medication for a few days.
Cats typically don't "chew" their food like humans do. Their teeth are mainly for ripping apart pieces of meat, and when it comes to kibble, it's not unusual for them to swallow whole pieces. So, while you don't need to worry about your cat eating in the long run, you should still soften their kibble with warm water or switch to canned, wet food for a few days after surgery, as their mouth will be sore.
Complications are rare after veterinary dental surgery, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't monitor your kitty's mouth. Look for any signs of excess bleeding, swelling, or infection. Infection may be characterized by redness, pus, or a bad odor.
Your vet will schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure proper healing and discuss any additional cases your cat needs.
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.