There may be times that your cat has experienced dental damage or decay that is beyond repair and needs to be addressed immediately. Here, our Los Angeles veterinarians discuss the reasons that your cat may need a tooth removed and what you can expect if they require tooth extraction surgery. 

Cat Dental Extractions 

A cat tooth extraction is the surgical removal of a tooth by a veterinarian. During the extraction procedure, your cat will be put under general anesthesia. This keeps them comfortable, keeps them from struggling, and allows our veterinary team to safely perform the extraction.

When Are Cat Tooth Extractions Necessary?

Because of decay or advanced gum disease caused by poor oral hygiene, most cats will require tooth extraction. When a tooth is irreparably damaged, it must be extracted to prevent infection and pain caused by decay.

You should speak to your veterinarian after your cat has their diseased tooth or teeth removed about the proper home care for your cat to prevent their other teeth from becoming similarly decayed. You should also be sure to bring your cat in for regular professional dental cleanings and examinations. Good dental care is essential to your kitty's oral and overall health. 

Besides the common cause of gum disease and decay, your cat may also need a tooth removed for the following reasons:

  • Fractured or broken teeth - Broken teeth can lead to painful abscesses and infection.
  • Deciduous teeth - Baby teeth that do not fall out on their own may need to be removed.
  • Oral tumors - The treatment of tumors may involve the extraction of nearby teeth.
  • Orthodontic abnormalities - Just like humans, sometimes cats have teeth where they don't belong.

Recovery After Cat Tooth Extractions

Roots hold our teeth in place. In cats, up to three roots can be holding a single tooth. All roots must be removed to fully extract a tooth.

Anesthesia will be administered to your cat during the dental procedure. It is completely normal for them to wake up groggy or lethargic for the rest of the day.

You should be able to take your pet home the same day because the recovery time for this procedure is relatively short. For the first few days, if your pet prefers hard kibble, soften it in warm water before serving.

Making a quiet, warm, and comfortable area for your pet to rest after surgery will aid in his or her recovery. Your pet should begin to recover from the anesthetic within a few hours, though full recovery can take up to 48 hours. During this time, your pet will most likely appear drowsy and may be unable to eat. If your cat is not eating or sleeping 24 hours after dental surgery, contact your vet.

Concerning Symptoms To Watch For After Tooth Extraction Surgery

While cats typically heal well after tooth extraction surgery, there may be occasional instances of complications during the recovery process. Some of the symptoms to watch out for are:

  • A foul odor coming from your cat’s mouth
  • A slight swelling on the lower or upper jawline, or under the eye area; the eye may also seem to bulge or protrude from your cat’s head
  • Refusal of food
  • Drainage from the nose or mouth
  • General sluggishness
  • Drooling
  • Pawing at the mouth or rubbing their face on the ground
  • Dropping food while eating

You may also notice traces of blood in your cat's saliva. While this is normal, there should not be any significant bleeding. If there is, contact your veterinarian 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 about your cat's oral health or think they may need to have a tooth pulled? Contact our Los Angeles vets to schedule an appointment.