In some cases, when your cat's tooth is broken or decayed beyond repair, an extraction will be necessary. Today, the vets at Advanced Care Animal Clinic explain what to expect when your cat has dental surgery to extract a tooth.
What is a cat tooth extraction?
A cat tooth extraction is when your cat's tooth is surgically removed by a veterinarian. Extractions can go as deep as the roots or might stop at removing the dental crown (the part of the tooth which is visible above the gums)
The Necessity of Removing Cat Teeth
When a tooth is damaged beyond repair, it is important to remove it in order to prevent infection and pain caused by the dead tooth. In most cases, tooth decay in cats is caused by periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease occurs when plaque is allowed to accumulate on your cat's teeth, eventually leading to pockets of infection. You can help prevent gum disease by providing your cat with at-home dental care and bringing them for regular professional dental cleanings at examinations This can be avoided with at-home dental care and regularly scheduled professional dental appointments.
Cats are also susceptible to a condition called feline tooth resorption. Feline tooth resorption is when the painful erosions develop on a cat's tooth or teeth and begin breaking down the structures that form the tooth. Teeth experiencing resorption almost always need to be extracted.
Cat Teeth Extraction: The Process
When you bring your cat in for an extraction they will be given general anesthesia to keep them comfortable and safe during the procedure. Before your cat goes under anesthesia your vet will likely recommend the appropriate diagnostic tests to ensure they are healthy enough for the procedure. These tests may include bloodwork, X-rays, or an EKG.
During the surgery, a veterinary technician will monitor your cat continuously. Pain medication may also be administered.
Depending on the teeth that are being removed, there is a variety of techniques that your vet may use depending on the size and location of the tooth in your cat's mouth.
Recovering After A Tooth Extraction
After a tooth extraction surgery, it is normal for your cat to feel some sensitivity for anywhere from 1 - 2 weeks. For more complex procedures, pain relief medication may be prescribed by your vet for a few days following the surgery.
When it comes to eating, you don't need to worry because cats typically don't "chew" their food the same way 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. You should, however, soften their kibble with warm water or switch to canned, wet food for a few days after surgery while their mouth is still sensitive.
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.