When a dog's tooth becomes infected or severely damaged, it can result in the need for it removed to protect their overall oral health. Here, our Madison vets discuss dog tooth extraction surgery, when it may be needed and what to expect once the procedure is complete.
When a Dog Needs a Tooth Extraction
A dog tooth extraction is needed when your dog has advanced decay or damage to a tooth that is irreparable. This tooth must be removed in order to prevent further complications such as severe infection or damage to the surrounding teeth. Your dog will need to be placed under general anesthesia for the procedure in order to ensure the safety of your pup and the veterinary team working on them.
At Gluckstadt Animal Hospital our veterinarians understand that finding out your dog needs dental surgery can be overwhelming, but we'd like to assure you that we are committed to making the extraction process as stress-free as possible for both you and your four-legged friend.
If this surgery has been recommended for your pup the vet will take the time needed to explain the procedure and ensure that you understand why it's needed and what will happen. We aim to make your dog's visit are relaxing as possible.
Why Removing Dog Teeth May Be Necessary
When dogs need to have a tooth removed, it is usually because they haven't had routine dental care to prevent cavities and decay. When this happens the vet will remove the tooth in order to relieve pain and prevent further issues.
Once the procedure is complete, the vet will discuss the aftercare your dog will need and schedule any follow-up visits. Our team wants to help you provide your pup with the oral health care they need to prevent other teeth from becoming decayed.
If a lack of dental care was the cause, your vet may suggest scheduling routine professional dental cleanings for your pup. Annual dental cleaning goes a long way toward preventing gum disease and tooth decay, which is as important for pets as it is for people.
While it is the most common cause, cavities and decay aren't the only possible reasons for tooth removal. Dog teeth may also need to be removed for any of 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 dogs have teeth where they don't belong.
What to Expect After Tooth Extraction in Dogs
Your dog's teeth are held into place by roots. In dogs, there can be as many as three roots holding an individual tooth in place and they anchor the tooth deep within the gum tissue and jaw. To fully extract a tooth, all roots must be removed.
During your dog's dental surgery, your pup will be under the effects of anesthesia to keep them safe and comfortable. When they wake up they will likely be groggy and lethargic for the remainder of the day - this is completely normal.
Typically, a dog that has undergone dental surgery will be allowed to return home the same day as long as there are no complications.
If your dog primarily eats kibble then you may want to add a little warm water to it for the first little bit to make it easier to chew. You should also avoid playing any tugging games with your dog until their mouth has completely healed, which typically takes around 2 weeks.
You may notice some blood in your dog's saliva, commonly when they've been eating. While this is normal, there should not be any significant bleeding. If there is, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Dog Tooth Extraction Complications
While rare, there can occasionally be complications from dental surgery. If you notice any of the following symptoms it could indicate that your dog has an infection and should see a vet right away:
- Bad breath
- Swelling of the lower or upper jawline
- Swelling under your pup's eyes
- Reluctance to eat
- Runny nose or drooling
- Dropping food from mouth while eating
- Lack of energy
Even though antibiotics may have been sent home as part of your pup's surgery aftercare, you should check in with your dog’s veterinarian if you notice any of the signs listed above.
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.