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Cat Tooth Extractions: What to Expect & What to Watch For

Cat Tooth Extractions: What to Expect & What to Watch For

If your cat has a tooth that is damaged beyond repair, your vet will recommend a tooth extraction. Today, our Queens vets discuss what you can expect from a cat's tooth extraction surgery.

Tooth Extractions in Cats

A tooth extraction occurs when a veterinarian surgically removes a cat's tooth. Extraction may extend to the tooth's roots or may stop at the crown (the portion of the tooth visible above the gums).

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

Also susceptible to feline tooth resorption is the feline species. Feline tooth resorption occurs when painful erosions form on a cat's tooth or teeth and begin degrading the tooth's supporting structures. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent feline tooth resorption, and the affected teeth must be extracted almost always. 

Cat Tooth Extraction Process 

When you bring your cat in for an extraction they will be given general anesthesia. Cat veterinary dentists do this to ensure the safety and comfort of your cat. Before the procedure takes place, your vet will likely recommend the appropriate diagnostic tests to ensure they are healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. These tests may include bloodwork, X-rays, or an EKG. 

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 that are being removed, including their size and location, there is a variety of techniques that your vet may use for the extraction.

Recovery From 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. 

Unlike humans, cats typically do not "chew" their food. When it comes to kibble, it's not uncommon for them to swallow whole pieces, as their teeth are primarily designed for ripping apart meat. Although you shouldn't be concerned about your cat's ability to eat in the long run, you should soften their kibble with warm water or switch to canned, moist food for a few days after surgery because their mouth will be sore. 

Complications are rare after veterinary dental surgery in cats, 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. If your cat is not eating or sleeping after dental surgery, however, contact your vet 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.

Are you concerned that your cat may require a tooth extraction? Contact our Queens vets to book an appointment today.

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Queens Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Queens companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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