Worried about my girl's dental

frazzfox

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Hi all. I hope I'm posting this in the right place. My sweet girl Kila just went in for a dental today. She's had tooth and gum issues since we got her and she had two teeth removed about a year and a half ago and did well in recovery. We've been upkeeping her dental health by brushing her teeth and feeding dental treats almost daily since then.

We expected 1-2 more to be removed today. Got a call from the vet before the procedure and they need to take out SIX! They warned it was going to be a more intensive surgery and now my anxiety is skyrocketing. Money isn't an issue, we have care credit to cover it, but I wasn't expecting her to have to go through all that and I was already nervous. Have others had experience with a larger extraction like this? Did your cats bounce back quickly or were they out of it for a while?

I know she's in good hands and will be in less pain once she's through with it but I can't help but spiral a little. This cat is my life. 😭 Any advice, experiences, or just good vibes would be much appreciated. Thank you all.
 

fionasmom

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I certainly understand your concern and upset for Kila. However, your option would have been to have said to leave the other four affected teeth which would have made no sense at all and would have probably left Kila with dental pain and problems. So it is not like you really had a choice.

Given hat you are comfortable with your vet doing the extraction but have concerns about caring for Kila afterwards, make sure to focus on that part of the procedure. She will need pain medication, so ask what to expect with it. If you know what will happen, you won't be as upset if she seems out of it or does not eat, etc. Ask if anything will be different....should you watch for elimination, what can she have for nourishment. Don't let them just hand you a cat with less teeth and tell you that she is released to go home.

Hopefully others will chime in who have done extensive dental extraction. My cat vet had an office cat named Charlie who lived to be 23. He had all his teeth extracted, made a full recovery, and went on to enjoy dry food and treats.

Fiona herself had three teeth removed, not six, but frankly I don't even recall much of a recuperation period after the pain killers were finished as she was so much more comfortable.
 
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frazzfox

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Thank you for the feedback and reassurance fionasmom fionasmom ! I know I made the right decision but boy is it tough anyway. The only other option I had was to take her home and wait / reschedule go to a cat dentist rather than the standard vet, but it was already difficult to get this appointment scheduled (2 weeks+ out) and our vet told us they were capable of performing the procedure themselves. Plus I didn't want to subject her to however many more weeks of mouth pain and a 40 min car ride to boot. 😿 Maybe next time though, I certainly see the advantage of taking her to a specialist especially if the issues are recurring.

I will definitely grill them about her aftercare when I go to pick her up! We take her to a cat-only vet now and they are always extremely thorough and take the time to answer my every little anxious question which is a huge help. We still haven't heard back from them at this point but I'm thinking no news is good news for the time being. It's been about 2 hours since the initial call.
 

neely

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Any advice, experiences, or just good vibes would be much appreciated.
Both our last cat and present cat each had several dental surgeries. I'll focus on our present cat since his teeth were in such bad condition when we adopted him, i.e. some were missing, others were broken or chipped. First he had a canine and several teeth removed but eventually he needed all but one tooth extracted. I was just as worried and nervous as you. I reassured myself by knowing that our cat was in good hands. His doctor was a veterinary dental specialist who had treated our previous cat too. However, this doesn't necessarily mean you have to go to a specialist. The only reason I mentioned it is because he is a full-time vet where we go which also happens to be a feline only office. His wife and him own the practice. 😉 They both are gems.

We were concerned he would have difficulty eating his food after the extractions but he did just fine. We finally switched him over to canned food because we had to wait several weeks for him to eat any dry food. We had been trying to get him to eat the wet food prior to his dental surgery but he was stubborn. :headshake: He was on pain meds for awhile but in the end he did remarkably well and I hope the same is true for Kila. Sending special thoughts and healing vibes to your girl.:vibes::vibes:Please let us know how she's doing when she comes home.🤗
 

KittyFriday

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I think Friday had 4 or 5 teeth taken out the last time. He seemed fine prior but started randomly drooling one day, which obviously gave me a scare. Took him in, they ran bloodwork and it was his teeth. He's older so I was nervous but he did just fine. He had liquid pain meds and took them like a champ and a few days later was back to his old self. I have to remind myself at times that he's missing teeth because you wouldn't know it.

Best of luck to your girl!
 
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frazzfox

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Thank you very much neely neely and KittyFriday KittyFriday for sharing your experiences! Hearing that other cats have done well with the surgery definitely made me feel a lot better. I know cats go through this all the time but it's hard not to worry that something might go wrong, even when trained professionals are handling everything.

I'll update here and add details just in case anyone else nervous about their cat's dental comes searching this thread for reassurance. Kila is home now and doing just fine. They did remove 5 teeth and one crown. Total all told was about $1500 including the predental bloodwork (I live near a metro area so pricing is quite steep around here). Our vet sent a very extensive post-visit summary document including Kila's x-rays and before and after pictures of her teeth. Seeing the teeth shocked me -- they looked horrible! Even with brushing them daily she hardly ever lets me get a good look at them so I didn't know it had gotten that bad. She must have been dealing with some pretty terrible mouth pain. I feel awful for having waited so long but grateful that we didn't make her wait any longer.

She was given two pain meds to take home: Onsior and Gabapentin. She got an antibiotic shot at the vet's. Vet reported that she did fine under anesthesia though her heart rate and temperature did drop a little low at one point, which they quickly corrected. They kept her for about 2 additional hours for monitoring before releasing her and they told me to look out for vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the mouth (blood-tinged saliva is fine, pooling is not), hiding, and excessive lethargy among other side effects. They're going to check her mouth again in about 10-14 days at a follow-up exam.

As others have said I recommend you ask a lot of questions and get as much information as possible because that definitely helps to ease the stress! I made sure to review her medical history with the vet beforehand as well -- she's had respiratory issues in the past and they took that into account during the procedure. We prepared lots of soft places for her to rest when she got home and bought some wet/liquid treats for her to have that won't irritate her mouth or stomach. She ate dinner like a champ and has been sniffing around for more, though she's definitely a little "out of it." Here she is just after we got her home. :lol:

photo_2021-11-30_17-51-29.jpg
 

neely

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She must have been dealing with some pretty terrible mouth pain. I feel awful for having waited so long but grateful that we didn't make her wait any longer.
Please don't blame yourself for any prolonged pain. You did the right thing for her by making the decision to proceed with the dental surgery and it sounds like your vet was very thorough. 👍 I live near a major metro city too so I understand about the expenses. Kila is absolutely gorgeous. I'm glad she's home and recuperating well.😻
 

fionasmom

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So glad that adorable little girl is home and recovering! As was said, don't blame yourself for not knowing about the dental issues. No cat lets you take a good look and you would practically need to be psychic to know if something was going wrong.
 

daftcat75

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Thank you very much neely neely and KittyFriday KittyFriday for sharing your experiences! Hearing that other cats have done well with the surgery definitely made me feel a lot better. I know cats go through this all the time but it's hard not to worry that something might go wrong, even when trained professionals are handling everything.

I'll update here and add details just in case anyone else nervous about their cat's dental comes searching this thread for reassurance. Kila is home now and doing just fine. They did remove 5 teeth and one crown. Total all told was about $1500 including the predental bloodwork (I live near a metro area so pricing is quite steep around here). Our vet sent a very extensive post-visit summary document including Kila's x-rays and before and after pictures of her teeth. Seeing the teeth shocked me -- they looked horrible! Even with brushing them daily she hardly ever lets me get a good look at them so I didn't know it had gotten that bad. She must have been dealing with some pretty terrible mouth pain. I feel awful for having waited so long but grateful that we didn't make her wait any longer.

She was given two pain meds to take home: Onsior and Gabapentin. She got an antibiotic shot at the vet's. Vet reported that she did fine under anesthesia though her heart rate and temperature did drop a little low at one point, which they quickly corrected. They kept her for about 2 additional hours for monitoring before releasing her and they told me to look out for vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding from the mouth (blood-tinged saliva is fine, pooling is not), hiding, and excessive lethargy among other side effects. They're going to check her mouth again in about 10-14 days at a follow-up exam.

As others have said I recommend you ask a lot of questions and get as much information as possible because that definitely helps to ease the stress! I made sure to review her medical history with the vet beforehand as well -- she's had respiratory issues in the past and they took that into account during the procedure. We prepared lots of soft places for her to rest when she got home and bought some wet/liquid treats for her to have that won't irritate her mouth or stomach. She ate dinner like a champ and has been sniffing around for more, though she's definitely a little "out of it." Here she is just after we got her home. :lol:

View attachment 403015
She looks like my Krista!

Krista had tooth and gum issues in her final years. What I recommend to you is what I wish I had done a lot sooner for Krista.

Take her to a dentist.
Find A Veterinary Specialist | AVDC.org

Make a proactive appointment. Typical wait times are two to six months for an initial consultation. Those don't change based on need. If you wait until she needs to see a dentist, you'll likely still be waiting two to six months. Procedure appointments, if the dentist thinks there is something to do, are a lot easier to come by (often within a couple of weeks from the consultation.) I also assume that once she's a patient of the dentist, that follow-ups and maintenance visits won't be subjected to the same wait times as the initial consultation.

While you are waiting for that appointment, have all her records including X-rays sent from her regular vets to the dentist.

At this appointment, have the dentist review all work that has been done to date as well as peek in her mouth and maybe even take a current set of X-rays depending on how long you have to wait. What you're looking for, or rather, what the dentist should be looking at is whether all extractions performed to date have been done correctly and without complications (sometimes root fragments are left behind by hands of lesser skill.) Beside root fragments, there are other complications that can arise from non-dentist vets (general practice vets) pulling teeth. They do the best they can with the training they have. But they are not dentists. Some of those problems are lip entrapment and gum ulceration. These are caused by asymmetrical extractions and the change in a cat's bite that is caused by missing teeth. The other thing you want to do at this dentist appointment is get an honest evaluation of her teeth and gums and determine whether any proactive or corrective extractions should be performed. For example, if any of her canines (fangs) were extracted, the dentist may recommend having the remaining ones either extracted or the tips filed down so they don't cause problems. If the reason Kila's teeth are being extracted are a chronic degenerative condition like FORLs (resorptive lesions), it may be better in the long run to proactively remove all her remaining teeth rather than waiting for them to go bad individually. Krista had this done and my only regret was not doing it sooner.

General vets can do cleaning and extractions. But that's about it. Anything proactive or corrective is usually out of their league. For that, you need a dentist. And I am recommending you make that appointment before you need it because those terribly long wait times don't change if you wait.
 
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frazzfox

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daftcat75 daftcat75 thank you for the kind and detailed reply! ^^ I so appreciate all the information!

We are very much planning on taking her to the dentist now, especially since it looks like these teeth issues won't be going away. A full extraction might be in her future and we do need a bit more insight about when we should begin planning for that, as well as what exactly the issue is with her mouth (our vets have been lovely, but they've just been treating the issues, as you've said, not getting to the bottom of what's going on).

We are going back to our regular vet for a follow-up in just a few days and while we're there I will be asking for a referral to their preferred cat dentist in the area!

In the meantime, Kila's off her pain medications now and acting nearly like her usual self. We still need the vet's formal OK but it looks like she's bounced back very well all things considered. Here's another picture of the spoiled girl watching her programs while she's being doted on in recovery.

photo_2021-12-01_22-46-37.jpg
 

daftcat75

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daftcat75 daftcat75 thank you for the kind and detailed reply! ^^ I so appreciate all the information!

We are very much planning on taking her to the dentist now, especially since it looks like these teeth issues won't be going away. A full extraction might be in her future and we do need a bit more insight about when we should begin planning for that, as well as what exactly the issue is with her mouth (our vets have been lovely, but they've just been treating the issues, as you've said, not getting to the bottom of what's going on).

We are going back to our regular vet for a follow-up in just a few days and while we're there I will be asking for a referral to their preferred cat dentist in the area!

In the meantime, Kila's off her pain medications now and acting nearly like her usual self. We still need the vet's formal OK but it looks like she's bounced back very well all things considered. Here's another picture of the spoiled girl watching her programs while she's being doted on in recovery.

View attachment 403512
She really does look like my Krista. Here she was flirting with me: boots, beans, and bedroom eyes. "Take a break already!" 😻
IMG_0012.JPG
 
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