In case your cat has a tooth that is severely damaged, your veterinarian may suggest removing it. Our vets in Marina del Rey will enlighten you on what to anticipate during a cat's tooth extraction surgery.
Tooth Extractions in Cats
If your cat needs to have a tooth removed, a veterinarian will perform a surgical procedure called a cat tooth extraction. This procedure can involve removing the tooth all the way down to the roots or just removing the visible portion of the tooth above the gums, called the dental crown.
The Necessity of Removing Cat Teeth
When a tooth is damaged beyond repair, it is important to remove it to prevent infection and pain caused by the dead tooth. In most situations, this decay is caused by periodontal (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.
Did you know that cats can suffer from a condition called feline tooth resorption? This is when painful erosions occur on one or more of a cat's teeth and start to break down the tooth structure. Sadly, there's no way to stop this from happening, and the affected teeth usually need to be removed.
Cat Tooth Extraction Process
When you take your cat to the vet for a tooth extraction, they will be given general anesthesia to ensure their safety and comfort. Before the procedure, your vet may recommend certain diagnostic tests, such as bloodwork, X-rays, or an EKG, to ensure that your cat is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
A veterinary technician will monitor your cat's vitals and administer pain medication throughout your cat's surgery.
Depending on the size and location of the teeth being removed, your vet may use various techniques for the extraction.
Recovery From a Tooth Extraction
It's common for cats to experience sensitivity for 1-2 weeks after a tooth extraction surgery. Your vet may prescribe pain relief medication for a few days following more complex procedures. Unlike humans, cats mainly use their teeth to tear meat instead of chewing it.
They may even swallow kibble whole. After surgery, it's best to soften their kibble with warm water or switch to canned, wet food for a few days since their mouth may be sore. You don't have to worry about their ability to eat in the long run.
Complications are rare after veterinary dental surgery, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't monitor your kitty's mouth. Keep an eye out for any signs of excess bleeding, swelling, or infection. Infection may be characterized by redness, pus, or a bad odor.
Your vet will likely want to schedule a follow-up appointment with you to ensure everything is healing as it should. Talk to your vet about any other special care requirements your cat may need.
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.