Root canal

misterginja

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Hi, has anyone here had experience with or know of a cat getting a root canal to a premolar, or is it only possible for the canines? I've been having trouble finding the info online for cats. One of my boy's premolars looks to need attention, and I'm looking for possible alternatives to an extraction.

I'm asking on this forum because my kitty gets incredibly stressed at vet appointments, and places I've contacted won't provide info until he's brought in for a consult. He's being brought in to see a Dr anyway---but based on the root canal info, I would take him directly to a specialist rather than first his local vet, to then be referred to a dental specialist. Trying to reduce the number of appointments...I hope that makes sense...

Thanks in advance for any info you may know on this topic!
 

Jem

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When our boy had a problem with his canine, our vet told us we could get a root canal, but mentioned that unfortunately it will need to be removed at some point anyway...I guess root canals aren't super effective or last that long with kitties...
I have no idea about root canals for other teeth...sorry...but I just wanted to pass the little information I had on the matter.
We did have his canine extracted and have not looked back, he did so well and recovered wonderfully.
 
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misterginja

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Thanks for sharing that, sorry to hear root canals aren't a permanent solution. Good to hear the extraction didn't reduce your cat's quality of life though...personally I get more nervous about dentals for my boy than for myself!

Now am wondering if the lack of info about other teeth means it is mainly done for the canines
 

daftcat75

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Molars and pre-molar extractions are fairly straightforward with cats. They don't really use those teeth anyway. The canines are more structural to a cat's bite. Care should be taken when canines need work as mismatched canines can cause issues like lip entrapment or gum ulceration if a canine bites into the opposite lip or gum where an extracted canine would have previously prevented that.

Dentists are in high demand and don't take every cat that comes calling. Generally dentists schedule consultation appointments before they schedule procedures. If you go to a dentist, you'll likely have two appointments. If you already have X-rays, you might not need to bring your cat down to that first appointment. But you'd better check with the staff first. You don't want to waste your long-waited-for (expect two to six months) consultation appointment if that's not the case. And that's the other consideration when going with a dentist. Can your guy wait two to six months to get the work done? If you go with a general vet, they will likely be able to evaluate and perform any procedures in the same appointment. But you are correct in that your general vet is limited in what he can do. He can do cleanings and extractions. More than that, and you will likely need a specialist.
 

daftcat75

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One other consideration is that dentists are few and far between. How well does your boy travel? I had to drive two hours for my Krista's dentist. Luckily Krista traveled very well. She was a quiet passenger and only spoke up when she needed a break. Even though it was only two hours away, her consultation appointment was at 7am. I booked us a hotel room for two nights, and Krista loved it! There wasn't a hotel fridge (or whatever the highest point of the room was) that she didn't summit. 😹 In our case, that was a good call (the hotel) because the dentist had an afternoon procedure appointment cancellation that Krista was able to slide right into. It would have been more stressful if we had to drive two hours before dawn in the morning and two hours home after she had her work done.
 
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misterginja

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Molars and pre-molar extractions are fairly straightforward with cats. They don't really use those teeth anyway. The canines are more structural to a cat's bite. Care should be taken when canines need work as mismatched canines can cause issues like lip entrapment or gum ulceration if a canine bites into the opposite lip or gum where an extracted canine would have previously prevented that.

Dentists are in high demand and don't take every cat that comes calling. Generally dentists schedule consultation appointments before they schedule procedures. If you go to a dentist, you'll likely have two appointments. If you already have X-rays, you might not need to bring your cat down to that first appointment. But you'd better check with the staff first. You don't want to waste your long-waited-for (expect two to six months) consultation appointment if that's not the case. And that's the other consideration when going with a dentist. Can your guy wait two to six months to get the work done? If you go with a general vet, they will likely be able to evaluate and perform any procedures in the same appointment. But you are correct in that your general vet is limited in what he can do. He can do cleanings and extractions. More than that, and you will likely need a specialist.
Appreciate your message, it has been a stressful past few weeks trying to find a solution for him. So far the only specialists in vicinity are a 6.5 month wait :(

It looks like I need to take him to the general vet for a dental cleaning under anesthesia and hope what is found can be treated by them. If they find the tooth can be saved but can't do the procedure, we'd consider seeing a specialist after...but then what if tooth deteriorates much while waiting so long for treatment, and that's two times in a year being put under anesthesia---am so worried what that might do to my boy as he's almost 10 years old. I wish there were more animal dentists, been going in circles!
 

daftcat75

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Appreciate your message, it has been a stressful past few weeks trying to find a solution for him. So far the only specialists in vicinity are a 6.5 month wait :(

It looks like I need to take him to the general vet for a dental cleaning under anesthesia and hope what is found can be treated by them. If they find the tooth can be saved but can't do the procedure, we'd consider seeing a specialist after...but then what if tooth deteriorates much while waiting so long for treatment, and that's two times in a year being put under anesthesia---am so worried what that might do to my boy as he's almost 10 years old. I wish there were more animal dentists, been going in circles!
I’m afraid I went into too much detail in my earlier post. Your original post says it’s a premolar that needs attention? That should be an easy enough extraction for a general vet to perform. I recommend letting your general vet have a cleaning and a look at it. If teeth need to go, they need to go. Waiting 6 months won’t help anyone. At the same time, make that appointment with the specialist anyway. Even if you have to wait six months to see him/her, s/he can put your mind to rest by reviewing the work your general vet did. If more work is needed, they’ll let you know. And while you are waiting, if the specialist is close enough to accommodate this, you can ask to be put on a cancellation waitlist. If they get a cancellation between now and your appointment, they can call you up to see if you can slide into that canceled appointment time.

(Side note; my fifteen/sixteen year old went under anesthesia so many times in her last couple years, I stopped worrying about it. If your boy is otherwise healthy, his anesthesia risk should be low even at his age.)
 
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misterginja

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I’m afraid I went into too much detail in my earlier post. Your original post says it’s a premolar that needs attention? That should be an easy enough extraction for a general vet to perform. I recommend letting your general vet have a cleaning and a look at it. If teeth need to go, they need to go. Waiting 6 months won’t help anyone. At the same time, make that appointment with the specialist anyway. Even if you have to wait six months to see him/her, s/he can put your mind to rest by reviewing the work your general vet did. If more work is needed, they’ll let you know. And while you are waiting, if the specialist is close enough to accommodate this, you can ask to be put on a cancellation waitlist. If they get a cancellation between now and your appointment, they can call you up to see if you can slide into that canceled appointment time.

(Side note; my fifteen/sixteen year old went under anesthesia so many times in her last couple years, I stopped worrying about it. If your boy is otherwise healthy, his anesthesia risk should be low even at his age.)
I actually appreciate all the detail :)

That's exactly what the plan is, making an appointment with general vet for cleaning and getting on waitlist for specialist as backup...here's hoping. 🤞
 

daftcat75

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I actually appreciate all the detail :)

That's exactly what the plan is, making an appointment with general vet for cleaning and getting on waitlist for specialist as backup...here's hoping. 🤞
I would let the general vet do any necessary extractions and use the specialist to review the general vet’s work and clean up anything the general vet couldn’t do. If teeth need to go, there’s no benefit in waiting. Dental problems will only get worse. 😿
 

Heart For Cats

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I had two root canals done on one of my premolars last year and would never want my cat to go through that. The most humane thing to do is tooth extraction, which does not make eating any harder after a cat recovers.
 
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misterginja

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I would let the general vet do any necessary extractions and use the specialist to review the general vet’s work and clean up anything the general vet couldn’t do. If teeth need to go, there’s no benefit in waiting. Dental problems will only get worse. 😿
Oh absolutely, if it's an extraction needed then I'm not going to wait... Just am hoping xrays show it's something that can be healed without an extraction, will see what Dr says after getting a good look in there during sedation.
 

Heart For Cats

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Thanks for sharing that, Sorry to hear root canals aren't a permanent solution. Good to hear the extraction didn't reduce your cat's quality of life though. Personally I get more nervous about dentals for my boy than for myself!

Now am wondering if the lack of info about other teeth means it is mainly done for the canines.
After one of my cats had his upper left canine extracted, I often had to adjust his lip to fix his crooked smile and wished the vet had also removed the opposite tooth to make it symmetrical. But that probably would have just given it the appearance of an underbite.
 

Heart For Cats

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Oh absolutely, if it's an extraction needed then I'm not going to wait. Just am hoping x-rays show it's something that can be healed without an extraction, will see what vet says after getting a good look in there during sedation.
Once a tooth is damaged, only oral surgery can fix the problem.

The vet will extract the bad teeth while your cat is under general anesthesia . . . if he passes a blood test. I hate to scare you, but when a cat's age is double digits general anesthesia cannot be administered without a blood test to rule out kidney disease and other deadly conditions. I am not worried about yours having any of those problems, but it happened to one of mine so I support a pre-dental blood test.
 
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