Cat Pawing At Mouth After Dental Surgery

It’s normal for your cat to paw at its gums after a dental procedure. However, your vet may need to examine it if the cat is pawing at its mouth after a dental procedure.

Middle-aged cats are more likely to have dental disease than their younger counterparts. Your cat should undergo a complete oral health exam that is performed under general anesthesia. Only 20% of cats’ teeth can be seen in a regular physical exam.

A comprehensive dental exam may include the following:

  • To measure the depth of the pockets, you will need to probe the gumline and teeth.
  • To visualize the roots of the tooth and the dental ligaments, take x-rays.
  • Any diseased or damaged teeth can be extracted (removed).
  • Scaling and polishing the teeth (cleaning).
  • Assessment of oral tumors and other abnormalities

You notice your cat keeps pawing at the door after you have returned from the vet. This can be alarming, especially if you don’t know why.

Although it can seem difficult to take care of your cat after surgery, it is possible.

  1. How to Care for Your Cat’s Teeth

Most cats have some form of dental disease. Many cats develop severe gingivitis by age four. Some also have periodontal disease. Research shows that periodontal disease will affect 8 out 10 cats by the age of three. Periodontal disease is a serious, slow-growing and painful condition that can cause pain and impact your overall health and well-being.

Cats are unlikely to show signs of discomfort. They learn to accept the discomfort over time because it is gradual. It is imperative that every cat sees a veterinarian at least once a year to check their oral health.

  1. Why is my cat pawing at its mouth?

Before you begin to analyze your cat’s mouth, it is important that you have an idea of what has happened.

Recovery times will vary depending on what procedure your cat had to go through. Different healing times will apply to minor dental procedures and dental extractions.

It is always a good idea for you to visit your veterinarian. Ask as many questions as you can to ensure that your cat is taken care of properly.

  1. It Could Be a Postoperative Complication

It’s usually not. You might notice your furry friend acting strangely after you get back from the hospital. You immediately suspect that something is wrong with the surgery. Although it might occur, most cats are experiencing post-operative pain.

You need to keep an eye on your cat for the first 24 hours following surgery.

  • Any swelling or bleeding around the wound
  • Puffy eyes
  • Uncontrollable drooling
  1. What is proper dental hygiene for your cat’s teeth?

There are many ways to provide proper dental care for your cat. Each of these requires commitment and diligence from the cat owner. Your feline friend won’t tell you if they need dental care. It is up to you, the cat owner to address their needs.

  • Good nutrition is key to good dental health
  • If possible, establish a routine for cleaning your cat’s teeth when your cat is still young.
  • Scheduling semi-annual examinations for cats
  • Be on the lookout for signs such as bad breath or other dental problems.
  • During your checkup, tell your vet about any unusual behaviors or concerns.
  • For serious issues such as tooth decay or other dental problems, it is important to act quickly.
  1. You Need to Be Watchful After Your Cat’s Dental Surgery

You may use sutures to close the gum tissue after your cat has had their teeth removed. These sutures dissolve quickly and can be removed without the need for anesthesia. Sometimes, the gum tissue can be left exposed to drain and heal itself.

You may notice these signs if your cat has infected mouth tissue.

  • Your cat’s nose is releasing a foul odor
  • There may be a slight swelling at the lower or upper jawline or under the eyes. The eye may appear to bulge from the cat’s head.
  • Refusal to eat
  • Drainage of the nose and mouth
  • General sluggishness
  • Drooling
  • They may be seen rubbing their faces on the ground or pawing at their mouths.
  • Food being dropped while you eat

You may have received antibiotics to prevent infection. If you do notice any of the following symptoms, call your veterinarian immediately.

  1. Are You Having Pain in Your Cat?

Our cats in pain is something we don’t want. However, pain can be a positive thing. Your cat and you will be able to tell when your cat is in pain.

All over their bodies, cats have pain sensors. They use them as protection to figure out what is wrong, without causing any additional damage. The heart rate increases when there is pain, which can increase blood flow which aids in healing.

  1. Signs that your cat is in pain
  • Your cat is not grooming itself anymore
  • You may find that your cat hides a lot.
  • Sensitivity to touch and general handling
  • Do not use the litter box
  • When you approach your cat, it becomes aggressive
  • Different eating habits
  • Your cat vocalizing
  • Jumping on and off high objects is difficult

7. How to Care for a Cat in Pain

You should have been able to talk with your vet about a routine pain management program. This will vary for every cat.

Some pain management programs might include:

  • Pain killers
  • Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Devices (NSAID) to relieve inflammation
  • Acupuncture is a way to lower stress and promote healing
  • Exercises to improve blood circulation

8. How Often is it necessary to clean a cat’s teeth?

There are many factors that influence the frequency at which your cat should be cleaned.

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • diet
  • Lifestyle
  • Existence of other health conditions

No matter what signs or symptoms you may see, it is important that your cat receives a dental exam at least once a year. Although you should check your cat’s teeth regularly, it can be easy to overlook the signs and symptoms that a skilled veterinarian will notice.

9. How to feed your cat after teeth extraction surgery

Soft foods can be given to your cat for several days following tooth extraction. These soft foods include semi-moist, moist, and even water-soaked kibble.

Talk to your veterinarian about special feeding instructions for your cat after surgery. This will help reduce discomfort and pain, and promote healing.

10. Cat Tooth Extractions: Recovery Hopes

A tooth extraction is usually a quick recovery for cats. Most cats can return home within a few hours of the procedure. The recovery process depends on how your cat handles anesthesia, their overall health and how they manage pain after the procedure. Recovery time for single extractions is usually one to two weeks. Recovery can take several weeks for cats that have had multiple teeth extracted or who have other medical conditions.

11. How to Avoid the Extraction Required

Sometimes, cat tooth extraction can still be avoided. Periodontal disease can be prevented by brushing your cat’s teeth and having an annual dental cleaning.

Ask your vet if your cat has a broken tooth and you don’t want to have it removed. Ask your vet for a referral to a veterinarian dentist if they do not perform root canals.

12. Care for a Toothless Cat

If your cat needs to have their mouth removed, you can rest assured that they will still be able to live a happy and healthy lifestyle. Cats without teeth can still eat dry food, contrary to common belief. You can still feed your cat dry kibble if they have lost their teeth. This could be due to old age, the natural fallout of their teeth or a complete extraction.

Common Cat Dental Problems

  • Plaque build-up
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Mouth sores, ulcers
  • Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesions (FORL)
  • As in humans, kidney, liver and heart disease are also common

Cats can hide signs of illness and pain very well. Bad breath is the most obvious sign of dental problems in cats. You should consult your veterinarian if your cat has bad breath.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

How to Prevent Future Cat Tooth Extractions

Your veterinarian might recommend certain products or activities to reduce plaque accumulation in order to prevent future cat tooth extractions. These could include:

  • Dental treats
  • Therapeutic dental diets
  • Water additives
  • Toothbrushing
  • Rinsing your mouth

How long does it take for cats to recover from Tooth Extraction?

Most vets schedule a recheck within 7-14 days of cat dental extractions. This is to examine the mouth and assess healing. Although sedation may be necessary in some cases, the exam is generally quick and painless.


Normal post-surgical pain is usually the reason your cat is pawing at your mouth after dental treatment. You should assess if the behavior is normal or pain-related. Eating habits can also make a big difference in the healing of your furry friend.

Understanding how your cat communicates pain to you will help you to understand what your furry friend needs.

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