When and Why Dental Extractions Are Needed For Pets

Most dogs and cats will have all of their adult teeth by the time they are six months old. With proper dental care and regular cleaning, they have the best chance to avoid experiencing gum disease — which still may become an issue since an overwhelming majority of cats and dogs experience periodontal disease in their lifetime. 

Knowing that gum disease is so common, it’s important for pet owners to understand when and why dental extractions might be necessary. 

Specific scenarios. Dental extractions for dogs and cats may be necessary in specific situations beyond periodontal disease. For example, fractured teeth may expose the pulp of a tooth, which could lead to an infection or an abscess — both of which could be painful and costly. Other situations when extractions may be necessary include oral trauma, oral tumors and growths, baby teeth that don’t fall out, or other teeth that grow in where they shouldn’t. At Dr. Kelly’s Vet, we examine each situation individually and make recommendations that make the most sense for each individual animal. 

Signs and symptoms. Since animals can’t verbalize pain, dogs and cats exhibit symptoms of tooth and gum pain in their own ways. Sometimes they may begin eating less and avoiding food, other times they may experience bleeding gums. Symptoms of periodontal disease are visibly noticeable when gums are red and swollen, a yellowish-brown crust forms near the gumline, and if any pus or discharge can be seen near the gumline. 

The procedure. If a dog or cat requires a dental extraction, there are a few likely steps that a veterinarian will follow. First, the animal will be sedated to ensure an easy, safe procedure for everyone involved. Then, the animal’s mouth will need an examination, which may include an X-ray. A veterinarian will then create flaps in the tissue around the affected tooth or teeth, remove the infected or compromised tooth or teeth and any connecting ligaments, clean the area and stitch it closed. 

Recovery. A full recovery from dental extraction surgery could take up to two weeks, as it often takes that long for the site to heal completely and for stitches to be fully absorbed. However, dogs and cats that experience an extraction will likely begin returning to normal behavior and eating habits within 48 to 72 hours after surgery.

If you have any questions or concerns about your pet’s dental health, from periodontal disease to a potential extraction to routine care, contact a veterinarian you trust or connect with our team at Dr. Kelly’s Vet. We’re happy to answer your questions and get you scheduled for a visit. 

Dr. Kelly’s Surgical Unit is a trusted veterinary team serving the Phoenix, Peoria and Tucson metro areas, with accessible locations in each market, offering highly specialized surgery, quality spay and neuter procedures, and accessible dental care for pets. Contact us to learn more about our specialized services or to schedule an appointment.   

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