Regarding animal care, most owners typically think of feeding, grooming, and regular check-ups. But did you know dental health is just as crucial in maintaining your pet’s overall well-being? Well, brace yourselves as we dive deep into veterinary dentistry, revealing some common dental surgeries practiced in veterinary clinics worldwide.

Common Dental Procedures in Pets

Just like humans, animals, too, suffer from oral health issues. These vary from minor conditions like gingivitis to severe ones like periodontal disease, fractured teeth, and oral tumors. The treatment for these conditions often involves pet surgery, some of which are listed below:

1. Tooth Extractions

  • Tooth extraction is one of the most common dental surgeries performed on pets when a tooth is severely damaged, infected, or affected by advanced periodontal disease.
  • Before extraction, dental X-rays are taken to assess the extent of damage and determine the appropriate extraction technique.
  • The procedure is performed under anesthesia to ensure the pet’s comfort and safety.
  • After extraction, the site is sutured, and postoperative pain management is provided to aid healing and recovery.

2. Oral Mass Removal

  • Oral tumors or growths in pets may necessitate surgical intervention to remove the mass and prevent potential complications.
  • Before surgery, a biopsy may determine whether the mass is benign or malignant, which helps guide further treatment.
  • The surgical approach varies depending on the oral mass’s size, location, and nature.
  • After removal, the tissue is sent for histopathological evaluation to confirm the diagnosis.

3. Jaw Fracture Repair

  • Jaw fractures in pets often result from trauma, such as car accidents, falls, or fights with other animals.
  • Repairing jaw fractures involves realigning the fractured bone segments and stabilizing them with wires, plates, or screws.
  • The procedure may require intraoperative dental X-rays to assess dental structures’ alignment and ensure proper occlusion (bite).
  • The pet may require a special diet and restricted activity post-surgery to support proper healing.

4. Root Canal Therapy (Endodontic Treatment)

  • Root canal therapy is performed when a pet’s tooth is damaged or infected but can be preserved, avoiding extraction.
  • The procedure involves accessing the tooth’s pulp chamber, removing the infected or inflamed pulp, and cleaning the root canals.
  • The cleaned root canals are then filled and sealed to prevent further infection.
  • Root canal therapy aims to retain the tooth’s functionality and prevent the spread of infection to other teeth or body regions.

5. Periodontal Surgery

  • Periodontal surgery is indicated for advanced gum disease (periodontitis) cases that are unresponsive to nonsurgical treatments.
  • Procedures like gingival flap surgery involve creating a flap of gum tissue to access and clean the tooth roots and surrounding tissues.
  • Periodontal pocket therapy aims to reduce the depth of periodontal pockets and promote gum healing.
  • Bone grafting may be performed to regenerate bone tissue lost due to periodontal disease.

6. Orthodontic Procedures

  • Orthodontic care in pets addresses dental malocclusions (misalignments) and bite abnormalities.
  • Orthodontic appliances, such as braces or aligners, apply gentle pressure to realign teeth over time.
  • These procedures improve dental function, prevent abnormal tooth wear, and enhance the pet’s quality of life.

7. Dental Abscess Drainage

  • Dental abscesses are localized collections of pus caused by bacterial infections in or around the teeth.
  • Abscess drainage involves creating an opening to allow the accumulated pus to drain, relieving pressure and pain.
  • The procedure is often followed by appropriate dental treatment to address the underlying cause of the abscess.

8. Oral Trauma Repair

  • Oral trauma, such as lacerations, puncture wounds, or avulsed (knocked-out) teeth, may require surgical repair.
  • The surgery involves cleaning and closing the wound to promote healing and prevent infection.
  • In cases of tooth avulsion, prompt reimplantation may be attempted to save the tooth if conditions allow.

9. Cleft Palate Repair

  • A cleft palate is a congenital defect with an opening in the roof of the mouth.
  • Surgical repair involves closing the aperture with sutures to improve swallowing, prevent aspiration (food entering the nasal passages), and support regular feeding.

10. Exostosis/Osteoma Removal

  • Exostosis and osteoma are benign bony growths that can occur in the mouth.
  • Surgical removal may be necessary if they interfere with eating, cause discomfort, or create oral health issues.

11. Feline Odontoclastic Resorptive Lesion (FORL) Treatment

  • FORLs are painful dental lesions that occur in cats, resulting in the resorption of tooth structures.
  • Treatment involves removing affected tooth structures or, in some cases, extracting the affected tooth to alleviate pain and prevent progression.

12. Gingivectomy/Gingivoplasty

  • Gingivectomy involves surgically removing excess gum tissue to manage gingival overgrowth or to expose more tooth surfaces for restorations.
  • Gingivoplasty involves reshaping the gum tissues to create a more aesthetically pleasing appearance and improve gum health.

Maintaining good oral health is crucial, but sometimes, despite all our efforts, our pets may still suffer from dental conditions. Hence, finding a clinic that offers comprehensive dentistry services for dogs is essential. These services include regular dental checks, cleanings, x-rays, and, when necessary, surgical interventions. Remember, preventative care is just as important as treating an existing condition.

Benefits of Pet Dental Surgery 

Here’s a list of the benefits of pet dental surgery:

  • Pain Relief: Dental surgery can alleviate pain caused by dental issues such as infections, fractured teeth, or oral tumors.
  • Improved Oral Health: Dental surgery addresses dental problems effectively, promoting healthier gums, teeth, and oral hygiene.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: By treating dental issues, pets can eat, play, and interact comfortably, leading to a happier and more active life.
  • Prevents Complications: Addressing dental problems promptly through surgery can prevent more severe complications and costly treatments later on.
  • Long-Term Savings: Early intervention with dental surgery can prevent costly dental procedures, saving pet owners money in the long run.
  • Prevents Spread of Infection: Removal of infected teeth and tumors helps prevent the spread of infection to other parts of the body.
  • Preserves Teeth: Some dental surgeries, like root canal therapy, allow for the preservation of damaged teeth, maintaining chewing function.
  • Preventive Dentistry: Dental surgery can be part of a preventive dentistry approach, maintaining optimal oral health in pets.
  • Improved Quality of Interaction: Pets with healthy mouths are more likely to enjoy interactions with their owners without discomfort or bad breath.
  • Boosted Overall Health: Good oral health is linked to better overall health, as dental issues can impact other body systems if left untreated.

Apart from focusing on oral health, well-rounded veterinary care should also delve into the internal health of our pets. This is where a veterinary internist comes into play. They specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases affecting the internal organs, such as the liver, kidneys, and digestive tract, among other systems. Working with your regular vet, they can provide comprehensive healthcare for your furry friends.


Pet owners must understand that their pet’s dental health plays a significant role in their well-being. Regular dental exams, diligent home care, and professional cleanings can help your pet ward off painful dental diseases. And when necessary, dental surgeries can provide an effective solution. Likewise, internal medicine and different surgeries also play pivotal roles in ensuring your furry friends stay happy and healthy. As responsible pet owners, building a solid relationship with your veterinarian is important to ensure comprehensive healthcare.