Common Signs Your Pet Needs a Tooth Extraction

Tooth Extraction In Pets.

It starts with a strange whiff coming from your pet’s mouth. Then, over time, that odor gets stronger and is accompanied by odd behaviors. Before you know it, your pet won’t eat and withdraws from previously enjoyed activities. These are common signs of periodontal disease, a serious condition that often results in tooth extractions for dogs and cats. 

What to Look For

At every wellness visit, we inspect the appearance of the teeth and gums. Depending on the level of visible tartar build up, a professional cleaning under anesthesia may be recommended. This service not only reduces the chance of developing periodontal disease, but in cases of advancing disease, cleaning the teeth can impact the severity of associated symptoms. 

Disease Prevention

Periodontal disease is entirely preventable, but it takes a significant effort to keep plaque from forming into tartar. Regular brushing at home, water additives, dental chews, and routine teeth cleanings (every year or so) have the greatest results. 

Between a pet’s wellness visits (every 6-12 months), pet owners can keep an eye out for any of the following signs of periodontal disease:

  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Excessive or uncharacteristic drooling
  • Dropping food or food avoidance
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble chewing, or favoring one side of the mouth
  • Discolored teeth (look for a yellow or brown appearance, especially on the back molars)
  • Loose, cracked, or chipped teeth
  • Signs of pain
  • Bleeding or swelling

The Importance of Diagnostics

Oral bacteria leads to the development of periodontal disease. Once established in the gums, the bloodstream can carry bacteria to the kidneys, heart and liver. Preventing the spread of oral bacteria to the vital organs is critical, and digital radiographs help us understand the extent of damage beneath the gum line. Other diagnostics, such as blood work, may be necessary. 

Tooth Extractions for Dogs and Cats

There are four stages of periodontal disease with symptoms ranging between bad breath, bleeding gums, discolored teeth, and loose, broken, or missing teeth. Some pets may not show any signs of pain as they are hardwired to mask illness or injury. Without intervention, the disease progresses to the point of tooth removal.

Tooth extractions for dogs and cats are completed under full anesthesia. Sometimes, a simple cleaning leads to an extraction as we don’t fully know the extent of damage until we take X-rays and examine each individual tooth. Other times, we know before heading into surgery which tooth or series of teeth to remove. 

Recovery and Prognosis

Tooth extractions are common in moderate to advanced periodontal disease. Dietary modifications help pets get back on track, but it can take time for them to adapt to moist, canned food instead of eating kibble. Pets generally bounce back very well, and without constant pain nagging at them they enjoy a higher quality of life. 

Once we gain control of the symptoms of periodontal disease, we can reduce further damage. However, it is a diagnosis that requires daily, weekly, and yearly attention to the teeth and gums. 

Your pet’s health is our number one priority. Our doctors and staff can assist you with any questions or concerns at (210) 696-1700.