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

If your cat has a damaged or infected tooth, your veterinarian may recommend extracting the tooth to protect their health. In this post, our vets in Goleta will explain what you can expect from your cat's tooth extraction surgery, and what you should keep an eye out for after the procedure.

Feline Tooth Extractions

When a tooth is removed from your cat's mouth by their veterinarian, it is known as a tooth extraction. In some cases, the extraction can be more severe and may involve the removal of the entire tooth, including the roots.

However, in other cases, removing only the visible part of the tooth above the gum line (known as the crown) may be sufficient.

Why an Extraction May Be Necessary

When a cat's tooth is badly damaged, it must be removed to prevent infection and alleviate the pain caused by the dead tooth. This type of tooth decay is usually caused by periodontal (gum) disease, which is a result of poor oral hygiene.

Gum disease is caused by the build-up of plaque on a cat's teeth, which eventually hardens into calculus or tartar. If not removed, this hardened tartar can create pockets of infection between the teeth and gum line, leading to further gum erosion and tooth decay.

However, gum disease can be easily prevented by maintaining a consistent at-home dental care routine and regularly scheduling professional dental appointments with your veterinarian. These appointments are similar to taking your pet to a cat dentist and helping your vet monitor your cat's oral health.

Additionally, cats are prone to feline tooth resorption, which causes painful erosions to develop on one or more teeth, leading to the breakdown of the tooth structures. Unfortunately, there is no known way to prevent feline tooth resorption, and teeth experiencing this condition almost always require extraction.

The Process for Cat Tooth Extractions 

When you bring your cat for a tooth extraction, your vet will use general anesthesia to ensure your cat's safety and comfort during the procedure. Before the extraction, your vet may recommend diagnostic tests such as bloodwork, X-rays, or an EKG to ensure your cat is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia. 

During the surgery, a veterinary technician will continuously monitor your cat's vital signs to ensure they remain stable and administer pain medication as needed.

The extraction technique used by your vet will depend on the size and location of the tooth being extracted.

Your Cat's Recovery 

After your cat undergoes tooth extraction surgery, it's common for them to experience some sensitivity for one to two weeks. In case of more complex procedures, your vet may prescribe pain relief medication for a few days following the surgery. If your cat is not sleeping after their dental surgery, it could be a sign that they are in pain, and it's necessary to seek veterinary assistance.

Cats have a different way of chewing food than humans, and their teeth are mainly for ripping apart meat pieces. When it comes to kibble, they usually swallow the pieces whole. Therefore, you don't need to worry about your cat's eating habits in the long run, but you should consider softening their kibble with warm water or switching to canned, wet food for a few days after the procedure. If you notice your cat is not eating after their dental surgery, contact a vet to examine them.

While complications are rare after cat dental surgery, keeping a close eye on your cat's mouth for any signs of excess bleeding, swelling, or infection is essential. Infection may be characterized by redness, pus, or a bad odor. Your vet will likely want to schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure that everything is healing well. It's also essential to discuss any other special care requirements your cat may need with your vet.

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.

Is your cat in need of dental care? Contact our Goleta vets to book an appointment today. We would be happy to examine and care for your pet's oral health.

New Patients Welcome

At Goleta Airport Pet Hospital, we are always accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health and well-being of all Goleta pet companions. Contact us to book your pet's first appointment today!

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(805) 968-4300