If you have a cat that needs a tooth extracted, it can cost you several hundred dollars. That might cause some sticker shock, but ignoring your cat’s dental health can be dangerous — it allows bacteria to get into the body through the mouth. If not treated, dental issues can lead to other more serious problems like heart, liver, and kidney disease, as well as blood infections.
The good news is, extracting a problematic tooth can reduce the amount of pain your cat could be in and prevent more serious health issues from developing.
A cat tooth extraction can cost an average of $50 to $130 per tooth, depending on where you live. This cost is often added on top of dental exams and cleanings, which run about $350 – $400. More severe cases can cost a few thousand dollars altogether, especially if you have to see a dental specialist.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why your cat may need a tooth extracted, how you can tell if your cat has a tooth issue, and some of the factors that affect tooth extraction costs.
There’s no denying you know your cat inside and out, but a veterinarian will be able to diagnose any dental problems your cat is experiencing and when they believe it’s best to extract a tooth. That’s why routine check-ups and cat teeth cleanings are so important, and can help prevent more serious dental problems.
Here are some of the reasons a vet may suggest or require tooth extraction:
- Feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL): Also called tooth resorption, this is when your cat’s teeth have become worn down. It’s the most common reason for needing a tooth extraction.
- Gingivitis: A gum disease caused by irritation and bacteria from tartar buildup.
- Advanced periodontal disease: A serious infection that comes with inflammation and can lead to gum and jawbone damage. If it goes untreated, tooth loss may happen.
- Broken tooth
- Infected tooth or gum
Cats may hide their pain when they’re sick — even the most attentive pet parent can’t foresee all situations. However, you can keep an eye out for some of the common symptoms when your cat is experiencing dental problems including:
- Increased salivation or bloody saliva
- Decreased or loss of appetite
- Bad breath
- Difficulty chewing
- Lesions along the gum line
- Broken, missing, or loose teeth
If you notice any of these symptoms, make an appointment with your vet to diagnose the issue.
There’s no one-size-fits-all dollar amount for cat tooth extraction costs because every cat and diagnosis is different. Some of the factors that can affect the cost of tooth extraction surgery include how many teeth need to be pulled, the size of the tooth, the current health of your cat’s mouth, and where you live.
Keep in mind that tooth extraction is a surgery. General anesthesia, medication, hospitalization, surgical supplies, and dental X-rays are likely involved and will contribute to the final cost.
You’ll want to talk to your veterinarian about the risks and benefits of surgery based on your cat’s current health. Pre-op blood work may be needed to see if your cat is healthy enough for surgery and could increase the overall cat tooth removal cost.
Your vet will likely send you home with instructions to help you care for your cat while they recover from their tooth extraction surgery.
Make sure you’re keeping them comfortable by giving your cat any post-op medication the vet sent you home with, feeding them softer foods to eat, providing them a safe space to relax and recover, and watching for signs of surgery complications.
While every cat is different, the effects of anesthesia will likely wear off after a few hours and they may start feeling better a few days later. Call your vet for a check-up if you notice any unusual behavior, bad breath, swelling, or discharge.
One of the best ways to help prevent tooth extraction is through routine monitoring and professional cleaning, which is recommended after your cat turns a year old.3 Schedule a yearly dental exam with your vet. They’ll examine everything from your cat’s teeth to their tongue, gums, and tonsils and let you know if you need to schedule a cleaning. Depending on how tolerant your cat is, sedation may be required.
There are also action steps you can take at home to help maintain your cat’s dental health with teeth cleaning. You can give them dental chews, treats, special food, and water additives. Or you can train your cat to let you brush their teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste made specifically for cats.
Talk to your vet to see what they recommend before you start any at home maintenance.
If your beloved cat ends up needing a tooth extraction, cat insurance may help cover some of the expenses.1,2 However, if a tooth needs to be pulled due to a pre-existing condition, it may not be covered.
Ready to see how much you and your feline friend could save? Get started today with a free quote from MetLife Pet Insurance.