- Many dogs will need to have a tooth extracted in their lifetimes — Dental disease, injury, and infections are a few reasons why your dog may need to have a tooth extracted.
- Dental surgery for dogs can be pricey and isn’t always covered by insurance — Check your policy before surgery, when possible, so you know what costs to expect.
- If your dog does have a tooth extracted, follow the post-operative instructions — This will help you avoid complications or further issues.
What you need to know about dog tooth extraction costs
Dog teeth extractions can vary widely in cost depending on several factors. These include the number of teeth, which teeth need to be extracted, and whether the procedure is routine or an emergency.
A simple, non-emergency extraction during a routine cleaning might be on the lower end of the $500-$2,500 cost range. However, if your dog has significant dental problems and needs numerous teeth extracted, then the cost will be significantly higher.
Why your dog might need a tooth extraction
There are many reasons why your dog might need to have a tooth extracted. The most common include:
- Overcrowding. If a dog’s teeth are too crowded, the vet may recommend that some teeth be removed to prevent discomfort and difficulty eating.
- Cancer. Sometimes, teeth will need to be removed due to a cancerous mass that is affecting a tooth or several teeth.
- Abscess in the roots of a tooth. This is where there is a bacterial infection around the root(s) of the tooth. To clear up the abscess, the tooth is extracted and a course of oral antibiotics is used to treat the infection.
- Gum disease. Like people, dogs can also suffer from gingivitis which if left untreated can lead to gum recession. When the gum recedes, the roots of the teeth are exposed and bacteria sets in, causing a tooth root abscess.
- Fractured tooth. There are many ways your dog could break a tooth. The most common causes are chewing on a hard toy/antler, chewing on their crate, or trauma to the face. Having a broken tooth can be quite painful, so your vet will likely recommend removing the tooth.
- Unerupted tooth. An unerupted or impacted tooth is a tooth that never made it through the gumline. Just as people often develop impacted wisdom teeth that become infected or damage other teeth, impacted dog teeth can also become painful or infected.
- Trauma. If your dog is in an accident and suffers trauma to the jaw or mouth, part of the treatment to help them heal may include having some teeth removed.
What happens during a tooth extraction procedure
Unlike human dental work, dental procedures for dogs are always done under general anesthesia. The vet may also take some dental X-rays to examine the roots of the teeth. In the case of a non-emergency tooth extraction, your vet will most likely conduct a thorough dental exam and cleaning, which accounts for some of the cost of tooth extraction. The vet will then perform a nerve block to numb the area of the mouth and proceed with the tooth extraction. Once the dental procedure is complete, the vet will wake your pet up from anesthesia.
Following the procedure, your dog will likely be prescribed both antibiotics and pain medication. All of these services may be line items on your bill. The average charges may be as follows:
Cost of a dog tooth extraction
|Pain medication and anti-nausea medication||These are sometimes administered prior to a dental procedure.||$40-$80|
|Bloodwork||Bloodwork is required prior to anesthesia to make sure it is safe for a dog to go under anesthesia.||$100 -$150|
|General anesthesia||Keeps your pet comfortably asleep while the vet performs the extraction||$200-$300 depending upon how long your pet is under anesthesia for extractions +/- dental cleaning|
|X-rays||Allows the vet to examine the roots of the teeth to check for fractures and tooth root abscesses||$250|
|Tooth extraction||The removal of the tooth (or teeth)||$25-$100 per tooth|
|Nerve block(s)||Nerve blocks are used to numb the area of the mouth where the tooth is being extracted so that dog is comfortable when waking up from anesthesia||$25 per site|
|Dental cleaning||Removing any tartar or plaque on the teeth and under the gumline||$100-$200|
|Antibiotics and pain medicines||The vet may send you home with antibiotics and pain medicine to keep your pet comfortable and prevent infection after surgery.||$50-$100|
Factors that affect the cost of tooth extraction
While we can guide you on the average cost of a tooth extraction, many factors will impact the dollar amount you’ll see on your total bill. These include:
- Reason for extraction. For example, a simple tooth extraction that is not an emergency will cost significantly less than a tooth that is unerupted, broken, or infected. In the case of an infected tooth, the veterinarian will need to prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
- Type of tooth. Whether it’s a small baby tooth, a canine or a large molar can also impact the final cost of the tooth’s removal. A canine tooth is more expensive because it takes longer to extract due to the length of the root. Also, teeth that have more than one root are more expensive to extract than a single-rooted tooth.
- Location. The vet office in a big city or at a large veterinary school may charge more for these procedures than a veterinarian in a smaller town. The trade-off is the big-city vet may have access to better equipment and perform the procedures more often.
- Time of procedure. An emergency vet visit will almost always be more costly than a preventative one. This is one of the many reasons why being proactive about your pet’s oral health can save you money.
How to care for your dog during recovery
Your vet should give you some discharge instructions on how to take care of your dog while they recover from their tooth extraction. The following are common tips for ensuring your dog’s recovery goes smoothly:
Encourage rest — Your dog’s mouth might be sore after surgery and they will need time to heal. Skip the rowdy playtime so everything heals properly.
Administer medication on time — Your pup’s vet might send them home with some antibiotics and pain medications. It’s important to give these as directed to prevent pain or infection.
Use softened food and take away any hard toys for two weeks — If your pup chews on hard kibble or hard toys, this may cause discomfort at the extraction site and may cause the stitches at the extraction site to pop or come undone.
Schedule a post-op checkup — The vet may wish to see your dog a week or two after surgery to ensure things are healing as they should and there are no signs of infection.
Monitor for signs of complications — Keep a good eye on your pup to make sure they aren’t experiencing any complications. Monitor for signs of infection, refusals to eat or drink, or even signs of tooth pain or other dental issues.
Does pet insurance cover the cost of tooth extraction?
Sometimes. The answer to this question depends on the insurance policy you have and why the tooth is being extracted. For some policies, no dental work is covered and others will only cover extractions in the case of some type of injury or trauma. If your dog’s tooth is not being removed as part of emergency surgery, it would be best to check with your insurance company first to find out if any of the costs of this dental work will be covered.
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Frequently asked questions
How much does a dog’s dental cleaning cost?
The cost of cleaning varies based on geographic location and the severity of the dental disease. If your dog has a severe buildup of tartar and plaque, then it will take longer to perform the dental cleaning and the costs will be greater. While some providers may promote cleanings not performed under anesthesia as safe, effective, and less expensive, the American Veterinary Dental College does not recommend or support anesthesia-free dentistry.
Should I have my dog’s rotten teeth removed?
Yes! Rotten teeth can cause pain, bad breath, and problems at mealtime. They also put your dog at risk for an infection, which if left untreated can be fatal when an infection in the mouth spreads to the kidneys and heart.
How long does it take a dog to recover from tooth surgery?
It depends on the nature of the surgery and could be as short as a week or as long as two to three weeks. Remember to follow your vet’s instructions to ensure your dog has time to heal properly.
What will happen if I can’t afford my dog’s dental surgery?
It depends. Your vet might be able to work with you on a payment plan or you may be able to pay for the surgery through a lender that offers health care financing such as credit cards or lines of credit. You might also be able to find a low-cost clinic in your area where the cost of the procedure can be subsidized. The Humane Society has a full list of aid organizations you could check out as well. If you are afraid you won’t be able to pay, be honest with your vet so you can work together to ensure your dog’s comfort, health, and safety.