Texas Veterinary Dental Center

Golden Retriever

Soft Tissue Pet Oral Surgery

Soft Tissue injuries or disease in a pet may affect the:

Tongue: Although oral diseases and infection can affect the tongue or lingual tissue, lacerations, tumors and cancer are not uncommon in dogs and cats. Lacerations can be readily sutured and tumors or cancer can often be treated with surgical excision. Less common lingual revision surgery can be employed to shorten excessive lingual tissue (long tongue).

Lips/cheeks: Trauma to these structures usually results in lacerations that can be repaired by surgery and suturing. Some breed specific problems of the lips and gingiva can be treated with oral surgical procedures. Excessive lip tissue, frenulum disorder and tight lip can be treated with surgery to alleviate the problem.

Tonsils: Tonsilar tissue of a dog or cat can be affected by chronic infection and oral tumors that necessitate their excision. Biopsy and histopathologic diagnosis are often required to diagnose enlarged tonsils.


Lacerations of the tongue, cheeks, lips and gingiva in a dog or cat are a common result of traumatic injury to the oral cavity, face and head. If tooth fracture results from traumatic injury, the sharp edges of enamel may even cause self-injury when the pet grooms, eats or rubs its face. Lacerations are repaired employing surgical techniques to close the wounds with suturing. If fractured teeth are the cause, the veterinary dentist can treat the tooth to prevent further injury to the pet.

Palatal / Lip Defects

Palatal/lip defects in a dog or cat may be caused by birth defects (cleft lip and cleft palate), traumatic injury, or electrical burns. Utilizing oral surgery and grafting techniques, we can often correct these defects. Some corrective surgeries even require staging or multiple surgeries.

Oral Tumors / Cancer

Often surgical excision is the best treatment for oral tumors and cancer. Clean margins (tumor free tissue) can often be achieved while preserving dental and oral function. Tumors and cancer may affect teeth, bone, gingiva, fibrous connective tissue, muscle, cartilage, tongue, glands or multiple tissues. We are trained to properly biopsy oral tissues in order to diagnose oral tumors / cancer so the best plan for treatment and cure can be communicated to the owner. Often we will consult a veterinary oncologist to determine if surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination plan would be the best treatment.

Gum (Gingival tissue) Surgery

One of the most common gingival surgeries performed is gingivectomy and gingivoplasty to reduce excessive gingival tissue.

Tumors of the gingiva are usually treated with oral surgery to excise and remove them. Small tumors are usually excised and the whole tumor is submitted for pathological evaluation. Benign tumors that are removed usually do not require further treatment. However, some forms of benign gingival tumors associated with teeth may be locally aggressive and require further surgery to include teeth and bone to prevent recurrence.

If your pet requires oral surgery for soft tissue disease or injury, they will receive a thorough evaluation including veterinary radiographs, allowing us to provide an individualized treatment plan for your pet.