When Is the Right Time for Your Pet’s Dental Surgery?

As a pet owner, it’s essential to prioritize the dental health of your furry friend. However, there may come a time when their oral health requires more than just preventative care. In such cases, dental surgery may be necessary to address issues like periodontal disease, fractured teeth, or tooth infections. But how do you know when it’s the right time for your pet’s dental surgery? And what should you expect during the process? This comprehensive guide will help you navigate this important aspect of your pet’s health and well-being.

Common Dental Issues in Pets

Understanding the common dental issues that pets face is essential for determining whether your pet may need dental surgery.

Periodontal Disease

One of the most common dental issues that pets face is periodontal disease. This occurs when plaque, a film of bacteria that forms on teeth, hardens into tartar. Tartar buildup can lead to inflammation and infection, ultimately damaging the teeth, gums, and underlying bone if left untreated.

Fractured Teeth

Fractured teeth occur when a pet’s teeth become cracked or broken, either due to injury or chewing on hard objects like bones. These fractures can result in pain, infection, and difficulty eating.

Tooth Infection or Abscess

Tooth infections can result from untreated dental issues, like periodontal disease, or from a tooth fracture that allows bacteria to infiltrate the tooth’s interior. In severe cases, the infection may lead to an abscess, which requires immediate dental intervention.

Signs Your Pet Needs Dental Surgery

Your pet may exhibit certain signs and symptoms indicating the need for dental surgery. These include: 

  • Bad breath 
  • Excessive drooling 
  • Difficulty eating or chewing 
  • Swelling or redness in the mouth 

If you notice any of these symptoms, it’s important to consult with a veterinary dental specialist to determine the best course of action.

When to Schedule Pet Dental Surgery

Age Considerations

There isn’t a specific age for scheduling your pet’s dental surgery. However, older pets may be more prone to dental issues, while younger pets can benefit from early intervention and preventative care.

Preventative Care

Incorporating regular dental checkups, cleanings, and at-home oral hygiene practices is crucial for optimal dental health. Preventative care can help catch dental issues before they progress, reducing the need for surgical intervention.

Consultation with a Veterinary Dental Specialist

If you suspect your pet requires dental surgery, consult with a veterinary dental specialist to determine the best course of action. Through a thorough examination, they can identify any dental problems and recommend treatment options, including scheduling surgery if necessary.

Preparing Your Pet for Dental Surgery

Before your pet undergoes dental surgery, it’s crucial to follow your veterinarian’s recommendations for pre-operative tests, fasting guidelines, and any necessary adjustments to medications and supplements.

Pre-operative Tests

Your veterinarian may recommend blood tests, X-rays, or other diagnostic imaging to ensure your pet is in good health and can safely undergo dental surgery.

Fasting Guidelines

You’ll likely receive specific instructions regarding fasting for your pet prior to the procedure. Typically, pets must fast overnight, with no food or water after midnight on the day of their surgery.

Medications and Supplements

Discuss any medications or supplements your pet is currently taking with your veterinarian. They may need to be stopped or adjusted before the surgery.

The Pet Dental Surgery Procedure

Dental surgery procedures for pets usually involve anesthesia, various techniques of dental surgeries like dental cleaning and extraction, and measures to ensure your pet’s comfort during the process.


Most pet dental surgeries require general anesthesia to ensure your pet remains still and comfortable during the procedure.

Types and Techniques of Dental Surgeries

Depending on the specific dental issue, your pet’s dental surgery may involve scaling and polishing, tooth extractions, or more advanced surgical procedures.

In some cases, veterinarians use Cold Laser Therapy as an adjunct therapy during dental surgery. Cold Laser Therapy involves the use of a low-level laser to stimulate tissue and promote healing. Consult your veterinary dental specialist or visit their website for more information regarding Cold Laser Therapy options for your pet.

Dental Cleaning for Pets

Dental cleaning allows the veterinarian to remove plaque and tartar buildup, examine the teeth and gums for issues, and apply a fluoride treatment to help strengthen the teeth.

Dental Extraction for Pets

Tooth extraction is necessary when a tooth is fractured, infected, or otherwise damaged irreparably. Your veterinarian will carefully remove the tooth to prevent further pain and infection.


In addition to routine cleanings and extractions, more advanced Vet Dentistry and Dental Surgery procedures may be necessary for your pet, such as root canal therapy, crown placements, or orthodontic treatment. Consult a dog dentist who specializes in these advanced procedures to ensure the best treatment for your pet’s unique needs.

Dental Surgery Risks and Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with dental surgery. These may include: 

  • Anesthesia risks 
  • Infections 
  • Bleeding or swelling 
  • Tooth sensitivity or irritation 

Discuss these potential issues with your veterinarian to ensure you are informed and prepared for any eventuality.

Pet Dental Surgery Recovery

Proper post-operative care and monitoring are essential to ensure a smooth recovery for your pet after dental surgery.

Post-operative Care

Your veterinarian will provide you with specific post-operative care instructions, including pain management strategies, diet modifications, and any necessary follow-up appointments.

Medications and Pain Management

Your pet may require medications to manage possible post-operative pain or prevent infection. Be sure to administer these medications as instructed by your veterinarian to ensure your pet’s comfort and well-being.

Monitoring and Follow-up Visits

Keep a close eye on your pet during the recovery period, and report any concerns to your veterinarian promptly. Regular follow-up visits will also be necessary to monitor your pet’s healing progress and overall health.

Cost of Pet Dental Surgery

The cost of pet dental surgery depends on several factors such as location, the type of procedure, and your pet’s specific needs. Pet insurance may help cover some costs, so it’s essential to research your coverage options and discuss possible expenses with your veterinarian.

Preventing Dental Issues in Pets

Preventative care is essential for ensuring your pet’s dental health and reducing the need for dental surgery.

Regular Dental Checkups

Scheduling regular dental checkups with your veterinarian can help identify potential issues before they develop into more serious problems.

Dental Cleaning and Oral Hygiene

Regular dental cleanings for your pet and daily at-home oral hygiene practices like tooth brushing can help maintain your pet’s dental health and prevent plaque buildup.

Diet and Nutrition

Feeding your pet a balanced diet and providing dental-specific treats or toys can help support their overall dental health.

Pet Vaccination and Parasite Prevention

Moreover, regular pet vaccinations and parasite preventatives can maintain your pet’s general health, indirectly contributing to their dental wellness.


Recognizing the signs and symptoms of dental issues in your pet and consulting with a veterinary dental specialist is key to ensuring your pet’s oral health. Balancing preventative care and surgery as needed will not only improve your pet’s dental health but also contribute to their overall well-being.