- There are many reasons why your cat would need a tooth removed — Advanced periodontal disease, broken teeth, and tooth resorption are common reasons for tooth extractions.
- The cost of removing teeth from cats can vary — Costs range from $500 to $3,000. It depends on your location, the extent of your cat’s dental needs, and whether they need any extra pre- or post-op care.
- Preventing dental issues for your cat is possible — Maintaining proper dental care with regular brushing and vet visits is the best way to prevent your cat from needing teeth removed.
Reasons to remove a cat’s tooth
If your vet diagnoses your kitty with one of many serious dental issues, such as advanced gum disease or broken teeth, they may need to remove one or more of their 30 permanent adult teeth. The most common reason for a vet to extract cat teeth is a condition called feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL), also known as tooth resorption. Tooth resorption is a fancy way of referring to teeth that are eroding or being worn down. Symptoms in cats include lesions at the gum line (which usually become more significant over time), increased salivation, and difficulty chewing.
Cost of tooth extraction in cats
Tooth extractions usually involve general anesthesia and surgery, costing anywhere from between $500 and $3,000. Bloodwork, anesthesia, and dental X-rays alone can be around $300 to $400, with the extractions bringing it closer to $500-$700 — possibly more, depending on the extent of dental work required. If a dental specialist is doing the procedure, it can easily cost $2,000-$3,000.
Potential extra costs
Anesthesia and surgery are often just two of several costs you should expect when you take in your cat for a tooth extraction. Here are a few added expenses you may encounter:
Pre-op meds. These are typically sedatives that make it easier for your cat to stay asleep under general anesthesia and reduce the amount of gas anesthetic needed. Your vet may also prescribe opioid medication to keep your cat’s pain at a minimum.
X-rays. X-rays are necessary if any teeth need to be extracted. Your kitty will need to be put under general anesthesia for this to check if there’s any bone damage.
Deep cleaning. In most cases, a tooth extraction will be added to a routine dental cleaning — it’s rare for a vet to anesthetize a patient solely to take out a tooth unless it’s a fractured tooth due to trauma. Dental cleanings range from $200 to $300.
What to expect after tooth extraction surgery
Your cat will rely on you for care while they recover after their dental surgery. Here are some ways to help your kitty be comfortable:
- Give them a safe space to recover — It usually takes a few hours for your cat to recover from the anesthesia, but it’s not uncommon for them to take up to 48 hours to return to normal. Your cat might seem drowsy and may not want to eat during this time, so it’s important to give them a comfortable and safe space to relax.
- Stay on top of the medications — Your cat will likely come home with medications (usually pain meds and possibly an antibiotic). You’ll need to be diligent in following your vet’s instructions for when and how much medication to give your cat. Don’t stop giving your kitty their meds before the full course is complete.
- Try soft food instead of kibble — If your cat has a sore mouth, soft or canned food may be easier on their gums. If they’re used to only eating kibble, try mixing some in with wet food or adding water to help soften it to make it easier to eat.
- Watch for signs of complications — Cats are extremely good at hiding their pain, so watch your feline carefully to check for any unusual behaviors. If you notice anything like disinterest in toys, dropping food when eating, pawing at their face, eye swelling or drainage, or bad breath, it’s best to consult your vet.
Preventing tooth extractions in cats
The best way to prevent your cat from needing a tooth removed is to stay up-to-date with their bi-annual vet appointments and maintain a good dental care routine . Yearly dental cleanings are recommended to remove plaque and tartar and to find and treat early signs of gum disease.
Water additives can also help prevent disease-causing bacteria to stick to your cat’s teeth and freshen their breath at the same time. If your kitty has already been diagnosed with gum disease, brushing their teeth regularly can help prevent the disease from progressing and requiring a tooth removal.
Does pet insurance cover dental care?
When it comes to your cat’s oral health, the best way to avoid costly vet bills is by helping your cat maintain good dental health. But, if your pet ends up needing treatment, most pet insurance policies cover tooth injuries and diseases. Find out what is (and isn’t) included by reading our insurance coverage guide.
Frequently asked questions
How much does it cost to clean a cat’s teeth?
A routine teeth cleaning can cost between $200 to $300. If your cat needs additional treatment for dental disease, it can cost more depending on what’s needed.
How can I take care of my cat after their tooth extraction?
Give your kitty a safe space to recover, offer them soft foods, remember to keep up with the post-op medication, and watch for any complications. If you ever have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your vet.
Why is cat teeth cleaning important?
Your cat should have an annual dental checkup that includes teeth cleaning. Regular cleanings help prevent more serious problems in the future, like gum disease.
What causes gum disease in cats?
The main cause of gum disease in cats is inadequate dental care. It’s easy for food, bacteria, and saliva to create plaque inside a cat’s mouth if their teeth aren’t brushed and cleaned regularly. Plaque builds up under the gum line and turns into tartar — leading to gum disease. If the disease gets bad enough, your cat may need teeth removed.
How often should I clean my cat’s teeth?
Cats should have their teeth cleaned professionally at least once a year, but vets encourage you to brush your cat’s teeth at home at least three times a week to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent future dental problems.