How often do you examine the inside of your cat’s mouth? It’s not easy to overlook cat dental care at home because no one wants to spend their time probing and prodding around those sharp canines? However, dental illness in cats can cause discomfort and even necessitate tooth extraction, so it’s critical to stay on top of the cat’s oral health.
Based on the severity of your cat’s dental condition (tartar accumulation, gingivitis, and periodontal disease), your veterinarian may decide that one or more teeth should be removed or extracted from your cat. The disorder known as feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL), also known as tooth resorption, affects more than half of the cat population and is the most common reason for tooth extraction. Fortunately, pet dental insurance covers the cost of tooth extraction in the majority of cases.
Types of Tooth Extractions
There are two kinds of tooth extractions. When tooth resorption develops, veterinarians may perform a procedure known as a crown amputation, in which they remove the tooth at the gum line.
In most cases, they will almost always need to extract the tooth entirely, including the root. However, keep in mind that your kitty friend is under general anesthetic and may even have additional nerve blocks in the jaw to keep her from feeling uncomfortable during the extraction.
When Cat Tooth Extraction Is Necessary
When it comes to felines, periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) is a common cause of tooth loss. It induces inflammation and infection in the gums, and the bone surrounding the tooth deteriorates, weakening the periodontal ligament, which maintains the tooth in place. It is also associated with tooth loss. Teeth that are loose and wobbly can be uncomfortable and may need to be pulled.
A damaged tooth is another circumstance that would necessitate tooth extraction. Cat teeth can be broken due to trauma or feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORLs) or tooth resorption, the erosion of dentin in a tooth that becomes irreparably damaged by veterinary medicine. Cat teeth can be broken due to trauma or feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL FORLs causes cavities to form in a cat’s teeth, weakening them and causing discomfort. For FORLs, the only treatment available is extraction.
Depending on the severity of the problem, your cat may be suffering from feline stomatitis. This severe autoimmune condition causes a cat to react to their teeth, resulting in painful inflammation of the gums. Although the cause of the infection is unknown, if treatment fails, a tooth extraction will be necessary. However, most cats endure whole mouth extraction well and feel significantly better due to the procedure.
Pre-Anesthetic Laboratory Work
Cats undergoing dental surgery are now routinely subjected to pre-operative blood work, which is especially important if your cat is more than the age of six or has never been anesthetized before. Veterinarians recommend blood work to check for anemia and liver function in most young cats and a urinalysis to ensure operative kidney function in the majority of them. An inclusive blood cell count (CBC) and blood work panel to check for infection, dehydration, parasitism, bone marrow dysfunction, liver, and kidney illness may be recommended if your cat is a senior (often considered over eight years old) by your veterinarian. It is incredibly harmful to anesthetize a cat that is suffering from any of the conditions listed above. Pre-anesthetic laboratory testing may be necessary to save your cat’s life.
The length of dental surgery varies depending on the severity of your cat’s dental problems. Still, they all commence with an intravenous catheter and an injectable anesthetic to keep your cat comfortable during the procedure. Your cat may be given a little tranquilizer or pain medicine an hour or so before surgery if she is agitated, scared, or in discomfort. Once the anesthesia has been successfully induced, your veterinarian will insert a breathing tube into your cat’s windpipe to assist breathing. During the procedure, this is used to help her breathe and give gas anesthetic throughout the procedure.
Plaque and tartar are cleared from the teeth using traditional hand tools (similar to those used by your dentist), ultrasonic cleaning machines, or a mix of the two during the dental operation itself. Every one of your cat’s teeth will be examined by your veterinarian. She may determine that one or more of her teeth are beyond repair and must be pulled. Teeth with abscesses or fractures, for example, will have to be removed. The final step is to polish your kitty’s teeth so that her smile is as bright as possible. Many veterinarians also prefer to take oral X-rays while your cat is still sleeping to save time. The patient’s crucial signs are continuously monitored by a veterinary technician or assistant during every element of the dental surgery, ensuring her safety.
Expectations for Recovery after Cat Tooth Extraction
The majority of cats heal rapidly after having a tooth extracted. Your cat will most probably be able to return home the same day as the surgery is completed. On the other hand, recovery depends on your cat’s overall health, how well their pain is treated after the extraction, and how well they tolerate anesthetic during the procedure. In the case of single extractions, the recovery time is often one week or less. Cats with several teeth extracted or other health issues may require several weeks to recuperate from their procedures.
During the recuperation period, the gum tissue around the tooth extraction site recovers and hardens. There are often dissolvable stitches to hold the gums together while they heal; these will fall out on their own after a short period.
You can assist your kitty in recovering by feeding them canned food (which can help reduce irritation to the surgical site) and ensuring that they finish all pain medication and antibiotics given by their veterinarian. It is common for pet parents to be astonished at how quickly their cats heal after having a tooth extracted.
Methods for Preventing the Necessity of an Extraction
It is possible to avoid cat tooth extraction in some situations. If your cat has periodontal disease, brushing their teeth and ensuring that they receive a yearly dental cleaning can help prevent tooth loss.
If your cat’s tooth is fractured and you do not want it extracted, you should consult with your veterinarian. A root canal could be performed to save the tooth in this case. If they are unable to provide root canal therapy, request a referral to a veterinary dentist.
Early intervention and good cooperation with your veterinarian can sometimes prevent the need for tooth extraction in cases of feline stomatitis or tooth resorption. However, any unpleasant problems should be treated as soon as possible.
Nutrition and Its Importance
Nutrition may be able to assist in preventing tooth loss in some circumstances. Hill’s Prescription Diet products, for example, are clinically engineered to reduce plaque and tartar buildup, which may assist in the prevention of periodontal disease and the promotion of better oral health.
If your cat has stomatitis, your veterinarian may recommend that you try feeding them a hypoallergenic diet to eliminate the potential of being allergic to one of the ingredients (which is rare among cats). If your cat is ailing from dental issues, consult your veterinarian for nutritional recommendations.
Taking Good Care of a Toothless Cat
If a complete mouth extraction is required, keep in mind that your cat will still be able to live a well and happy life, which includes eating properly. Contrary to popular belief, cats without teeth are capable of eating dry kibble as well as wet. Cats who have lost their teeth, whether due to old age and the teeth coming out more natural or as a result of a full mouth extraction, can still function normally; however, you should see your veterinarian for any additional care suggestions that may be necessary.
It’s reasonable to be concerned about your pet cat having surgery but be assured that the vast majority of cats are pretty well-adapted to dental procedures. Your cat will feel significantly better if he or she does not have an aching tooth.
What is the Reason for My Cat’s Oral Surgery?
There are a variety of reasons why your cat may require dental surgery. Patients may require oral surgery to remove growths, fix oral abnormalities, and mend jaw fractures. In many circumstances, they may need to have teeth extracted to reduce pain.
An example of a condition in which surgery may be required is when a cat becomes severely sensitive to plaque accumulated on its teeth. Swollen gums and inflammation are the results of this sensitivity. Especially in cases that have been going on for a long time and are not responding to regular brushing, oral surgery to extract the teeth may be necessary to improve the situation. The majority of cases will be regarded as cured after extraction in roughly 60% of cases. In approximately 80% of cases, medication administered following extraction will result in a cure. The particular medical approach differs from point to case, and it is recommended that you seek the guidance of a board-certified veterinary dentist for assistance with these difficult circumstances.
There is no known cause for some oral tumors. An appointment with a veterinary oncologist (cancer specialist) may be recommended depending on the tumor’s type, size, and location. If oral tumors are discovered early enough, surgical excision may be a possibility, and it may even cure the condition. Oral tumors are also surgically removed. More information on oral tumors can be found in the relevant handouts.
Is it Necessary for the Procedure to be performed by an Oral Surgeon?
Advanced oral surgical techniques are taught to board-certified veterinary dentists and veterinary surgeons trained in advanced dental procedures. A medical appointment with a board-certified dentist, surgeon, or oncologist may be required for the procedure that your cat needs. Your veterinarian would tell you if this is the case.
Is it Safe for My Cat to have Oral Surgery?
The use of anesthesia in oral surgery is required, and it entails some risk, just as it does in human medicine. A board-certified veterinary anesthesiologist may also be involved in the care of your cat as part of the team. Blood tests are performed before administering an anesthetic to assist in selecting the safest protocol for your cat. During and after the treatment, your cat will be thoroughly observed by a veterinarian.
Will My Cat be in Any Discomfort?
It is planned to utilize both local and general anesthetics to reduce discomfort and regulate pain during the procedure. Your cat may be treated with the same narcotic drugs as are used on people. Swelling and inflammation following surgery may be reduced with the administration of anti-inflammatory medications, assuming that your cat is a candidate for such medicines.
What will My Cat Eat after the Surgery?
Because of the careful attention paid to the delivery of balanced anesthesia designed individually to each patient, the vast majority of cats fare incredibly well under general anesthetic and recover with minimal discomfort in the post-surgical period. Even after being discharged from the hospital, most cats will feed on the same day of operation, and many will do so shortly after arriving at their new residence. It is recommended that soft food be provided until the healing process is complete. It will be necessary to return for follow-up appointments to confirm that healing is proceeding as expected.
Dental Treatment in the Future
If home dental care has not been a regular part of the cat’s routine, there is generally a slow “introduction” period for older cats. Your veterinarian will provide you with various suggestions for maintaining your cat’s oral health (while keeping all ten fingers). Your veterinarian will also consider with you the best ways to keep your cat’s teeth and gums healthy in the future.
Pet parents are frequently apprehensive about having their pets’ teeth cleaned. After all, they will require anesthesia, which might be a frightening concept for some people. Many owners had remarked that, although they were not aware that anything was amiss before the treatment, their cat was acting like a kitten once more following the procedure! Nevertheless, the apparent relief your cat will experience after having painful teeth extracted will make all of your worries worthwhile.
To keep our cats healthy, we must do everything we can to help them, and dental health is as essential as any other part of their well-being. If you ever had a toothache, you would want it to be taken care of as soon as possible, and your cat feels the same way! If you have a suspicion that your cat’s lips may be a little “odd,” don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian.