If your cat's tooth is severely damaged, your vet will advise extracting it. In this article, our Weldon Spring veterinary team explains what you can anticipate during a cat's tooth extraction surgery.

Tooth Extractions in Cats

A veterinarian surgically removes a cat's tooth in a procedure known as cat tooth extraction. The extraction may involve removing the dental crown (the visible part of the tooth above the gums) or going as deep as the roots.

The Necessity of Removing Cat Teeth

When a tooth becomes irreparably damaged, it's crucial to remove it promptly to prevent infection and alleviate the pain associated with a dead tooth. In most cases, this decay stems from periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum disease results from the accumulation of plaque on your cat's teeth, eventually solidifying into calculus or tartar. If left unaddressed, this hardened tartar fosters pockets of infection between the gum line and the teeth, leading to gum erosion and tooth decay. You can combat gum disease by implementing at-home dental care and maintaining a regular schedule of professional dental check-ups.

Additionally, cats can be susceptible to a condition known as feline tooth resorption, characterized by painful erosions on a cat's tooth or teeth that gradually deteriorate the tooth's structure. Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent feline tooth resorption, and teeth affected by this condition almost always require extraction.

Cat Tooth Extraction Process 

When you bring your cat in for an extraction, we administer general anesthesia to ensure your cat's safety and comfort. Before the procedure, your vet will recommend diagnostic tests, such as bloodwork, X-rays, or an EKG, to ensure your cat's suitability for anesthesia.

A veterinary technician will continuously monitor your cat during surgery, administering pain medication and maintaining stable vitals. The extraction techniques employed by your vet may vary depending on the specific teeth, including their size and location.

Recovery From a Tooth Extraction 

After a tooth extraction surgery, your cat may experience sensitivity for 1 to 2 weeks. In cases of more complex procedures, your vet may prescribe pain relief medication for a few days after the surgery.

Cats differ from humans in their approach to food consumption. Their teeth are primarily designed for tearing apart meat, and when it comes to kibble, they often swallow it whole. While you needn't worry about your cat's long-term eating habits, it's advisable to soften their kibble with warm water or switch to canned wet food for a few days post-surgery due to potential mouth soreness.

Complications following veterinary dental surgery are rare, but monitoring your cat's mouth for any signs of excess bleeding, swelling, or infection is essential. Infections may manifest as redness, pus, or an unpleasant odor.

Further, it is normal for a cat to feel disoriented after coming out of the anesthesia. As such, your cat may not sleep after dental surgery (a rarity for cats, we know). However, if they remain disoriented after 24 hours, contact your vet immediately.

Your vet will likely schedule a follow-up appointment to ensure proper healing. Discuss any additional special care requirements your cat may have 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.

Are you concerned that your cat may require a tooth extraction? Contact our cat vet's dentist in Weldon Spring to book an appointment today.