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Cat’s Tooth Was Just Hanging Out!

November 9, 2009
Old Red Tabby Cat Needs Dental Surgery

Simon, Before Surgery with his Left Lower Canine Tooth Hanging Out

Sometimes cats need emergency tooth extraction. In Simon’s case, his left lower canine tooth avulsed so it stuck out of his lower lip at almost a ninety degree angle. Talk about painful!

To top it off, Simon was 18 years old. Anesthesia carried inherent risk for him, but there was no way he could go on with that tooth like that!  

I put him under light anesthesia and painkillers and delicately removed the offending tooth.

Simon’s recovery after anesthesia was uneventful.  An elderly cat feels sleepy for several hours.  He wobbled on his feet and jerked his head to and fro a bit, trying to focus on my face.  We did not offer any food for the first two hours.  Then Simon started to look more “with it.”  He drank some water when it was offered.  (Just a little bit.  Cats normally do not drink very much; cats are thought to be originally desert animals.)

After two hours, we let him walk around his own bedroom in the hospital, without fear he would trip or try to jump up and hurt himself.  He ate a little dinner, and went to sleep.  Simon recovered quickly.  Some cats are groggy until the morning or afternoon after surgery and anesthesia.  Sleepiness for more than 24 hours warrants a call to the veterinarian.

Simon the Red tabby kitty

See the little white thing hanging out of the corner of Simon's mouth? That's the tooth!

Simon ate soft canned cat food for about 5 days.  I checked his gums and they were 100% healed!  Some dental specialists wait up to 2 weeks after dental surgery before allowing a cat unrestricted access to dry food.

6 months after his surgery, Simon had gained a pound, and looks younger than ever!

P.S. Tooth avulsion occurs after accidents, or in Simon’s case, from years of periodontal neglect. The jawbone holding the tooth becomes fragile, the tooth is no longer strong and firmly rooted, and an insignificant bump to the mouth dislodged the tooth. Whammo! An avulsion is born.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2010 11:45 am

    They gave me a bottle of vanilla-flavoured fluoride and told me that after about 3 weeks, when he’s healed, I should rub that on his teeth and then wipe it off. I’m not sure he’s going to let me do either of those things…

    • May 23, 2010 3:52 pm

      Fluoride. Hmmm…I know that a fluoride sealant can be used to slow Feline Resorptive Lesions. My technicians apply it after the cleaning, to dry enamel surfaces. You could try to adapt the pet tooth brushing techniques to “tooth wiping.”

      Get the fluoride stuff ready on a soft cotton cloth or a soft paper towel. Have it ready and waiting before you try and acquire your pussy cat.

      If you are right handed, sit on a chair or sofa or bed and tuck him under your left arm, with his head facing front. Hold his chest steady with your left hand wrapped around him and across his chest. Use your left elbow to tuck him in so he doesn’t wiggle backward. Grab the loaded wipe with your right hand and gently push it up under the lip on the right side of his mouth. You can gently wipe the cloth on the surfaces of the teeth on the top and bottom. You can also dab the fluoride on the front teeth this way. You may be able to reach around the front of his face to the left and slide your finger with the wipe over it under his lips. Or maybe turn his head toward you slightly to reach the left. I go by feel; I do not open up the mouth and look at what I’m doing. It’s nearly impossible to do that!

      (If you are left-handed, automatically reverse all directions, like you do every day anyway 😉 !)

      Or, ask if you can bring him by the vet’s and have the nurse *easily* wipe the nasty goop on his teeth. See if they can do it!!!

  2. May 20, 2010 10:11 pm

    Thank you! Your information was helpful. I was able to ask enough questions to determine that my veterinary hospital knows what they’re doing, and they are pretty up-to-date in their equipment (no heated surgical tables, though, just microwavable oat bags). My kitty survived the dental surgery and is home now. They told me to keep him away from stairs, but he was having none of it and spent the first hour after getting home running up and down the stairs (he was okay; I guess he needed to burn off some energy). Now he’s sleeping peacefully on our bed. I’ll be glad when he’s all healed up, but then I’ve gotta figure out this fluoride treatment thing!

    Anyway, thank you very much for your response and all your helpful articles. I think I’ll bookmark your site for future reference. 🙂

    • May 23, 2010 11:15 am

      Good job! I’m happy to hear your kitty did so well. VirtuaCat (my Himalayan companian and unpaid logo cat) likes to try and jump on the kitchen counter after his denistry. Then his legs get all rubbery and noodle-y and he slithers into a kitty pile on the kitchen floor and I feel like a silly mommy for letting him out of his crate too early! We do this at least once a year, you’d think I’d toughen up and leave him in the carry crate for a few more hours!

      To what “fluoride treatment thing” do you refer? 🙂

      -Doc Truli

      • Lainey permalink
        April 16, 2012 3:41 am

        Now I’ve got to get my other cat’s teeth out (on Tuesday). I’m worried again (it’s what I do), especially since now they’re almost 15 and this one has a heart murmur (the vet isn’t sure if it was just from the stress of being at the vet; their bloodwork is both still amazing for their age and all their organs showed as being fine). He’s been put under quite a few times (he used to get blocked a lot, but not anymore with a veterinary diet), but he was a LOT younger then. I am worried mom. He’s my teddy bear. Plus he’s insane, and therefore hilarious. So I need him to stick around for as long as possible. 😉

  3. May 14, 2010 3:43 pm

    Are you a vet? I have an almost-13-year-old cat who needs dental surgery, and I’m terrified to have him put under anesthetic! I was googling information on just how dangerous it is when I found your blog.

    • May 17, 2010 7:33 pm

      Dear Lainey,
      Yes, I’m a veterinarian!
      Read my posts under the anesthesia tag and the dental success stories category. I have a download checklist for good anesthesia practices.
      You must realize, if your cat needs dental surgery, it is just as serious as needing any other surgery, like fixing a painful, broken leg. Let your veterinarian make the day as safe as possible by approving all recommended blood tests, any x-rays (like if they recommend an ecg, or chest x-rays if there is a heart murmur.) Giving permission to check everything thoroughly before the anesthesia will help your cat be as safe as possible under anesthesia.
      Good Luck!
      Doc Truli

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