Damaged and decayed teeth are common in our canine companions. A tooth extraction can help relieve pain and restore their oral health. Our Somerset vets explain what to expect if your dog needs a tooth extraction.
Dog Dental Surgery
A dog tooth extraction is a surgical procedure performed by your veterinarian to remove a damaged or decayed tooth from your dog's mouth in order to restore good oral health and relieve pain. During the process to remove dog teeth, general anesthesia is required to keep your pet still and to avoid any discomfort. Anesthesia also prevents pets from becoming anxious or struggling and allows your veterinary team to safely complete the extraction.
At Spinnaker Veterinary Clinic 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 family member.
If your pet needs dental surgery, your vet will take the time to walk through each step of the process with you and answer any questions you may have about the procedure or the recovery process. Our goal is to ensure that your experience with our pet hospital is stress-free and efficient.
Why Your Dog May Need Dental Surgery
Typically, a dog will have to have a tooth removed due to decay or advanced gum disease caused by poor oral hygiene. When a tooth is damaged beyond repair, it is important to remove it to prevent infection and pain caused by the decayed tooth.
That said, tooth decay isn't the only reason why your dog may need a tooth extraction. 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.
The Extraction Process
Teeth are anchored in the jaw by tooth roots. In dogs, there can be as many as three roots holding an individual tooth in place. 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.
What to Expect After Tooth Extraction in Dogs
Most dogs recover very quickly from a tooth extraction procedure, so there is a good chance that you will be able to bring your pet home on the same day as the procedure.
Following your dog's extraction, your veterinarian will provide you with easy-to-follow at-home care instructions for your dog's teeth and gums.
If hard kibble is a part of your dog's usual diet, your vet may suggest softening the kibbles in warm water to make their food easier to eat for a few days following surgery. You should also avoid playing any tugging games with your dog until their mouth has completely healed, which typically takes around 2 weeks.
It is not unusual to see traces of blood in a dog's saliva after dental surgery. While this is normal, there should not be any significant bleeding. If there is, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Your veterinarian may suggest regular dental cleanings for your dog as part of their annual preventive care schedule. 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.
Possible Complications of Dog Dental Surgery
Most dogs recover well after a tooth extraction but complications can sometimes occur. If the tissue at the site of your dog's tooth extraction becomes infected you may notice one or more of the following symptoms:
- 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.