Discolored Teeth Average Cost

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What is Discolored Teeth?

An oral disease that often manifests as discolored teeth is feline odontoclastic resorptive lesions (FORL). This is the feline version of a cavity in the tooth. It can be found in the lower premolars of the cat. Gingivitis is another common condition that turns teeth from white to a darker color. Inflamed gums are another indicator of gingivitis. Indoor cats are at greater risk of developing discolored teeth than outdoor cats, since chewing bones can help clean the teeth and mouth.

Feline dental issues should never be ignored, as bacterial infections are commonly found in dental complications. A bacterial infection in a tooth may spread throughout the body and damage organs.

In cats, healthy teeth are generally white. Any variation in color indicates issues in oral health or tooth damage. Severe dental diseases can also change the color of a cat’s teeth. A very large percent of cats suffer from a degree of dental issues or disease. By the time that discoloration occurs, the cat may have been experiencing oral pain for some time. After a tooth has died, its color will darken significantly.

Symptoms of Discolored Teeth in Cats

Whenever a cat’s teeth are not purely white, underlying oral health issues are a possibility. By inspecting your cat’s mouth on a regular basis you can spot symptoms as soon as they arise. Symptoms are as follows:

  • Visible cavities
  • Yellow or brown tartar (calculus)
  • Purple or pink shade to teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Red gums
  • Recessed gums
  • Bleeding from mouth
  • Drooling
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty eating

Causes of Discolored Teeth in Cats

Many different factors can cause a cat’s teeth to discolor. Trauma to the face or mouth is the number one cause of tooth discoloration, and is often paired with more severe issues or injuries. Known causes and risk factors include: 

  • Brachycephalic (short-nosed) cat breeds
  • Tartar buildup (mainly in older cats)
  • Diet, especially exclusively wet food 
  • Abnormal tooth formation
  • Trauma or injury
  • Oral tumor
  • Pulpal hemorrhage

Diagnosis of Discolored Teeth in Cats

All teeth should be checked as a part of a regular, annual vet visit. If symptoms have made an appointment necessary sooner, the veterinarian will complete an oral exam. You will be asked how long discoloration has been noticed in the cat’s teeth. If the cat has undergone trauma, a whole body assessment will be necessary to determine if any life threatening issues are present. 

X-rays will be required to check for any reduction in bone density of the teeth. A periodontal probe or “shepherd’s hook” may be used to evaluate the affected teeth. Pre-anesthetic blood work, including a complete blood count and a biochemical profile, will be needed to determine whether the cat is a suitable candidate for general anesthesia. This is even more of a concern when the cat has reached old age. The liver and kidneys will need to be evaluated before treatment is commenced.

Treatment of Discolored Teeth in Cats

If you notice discolored teeth in your cat’s mouth, never wait to see if more symptoms arise. This can be harmful to your cat, and cause it to go through unnecessary pain. 

Scaling and Polishing 

A deep tooth cleaning can be done by your veterinarian to help remove the buildup of tartar. If the cat’s health qualifies for general anesthesia, then this treatment can be effective at restoring mouth health.


Teeth that are completely dead or rotten need to be removed from the mouth to prevent infection. Tooth pulling is a quick procedure. Many cats have no difficulty eating after having teeth pulled, even if the number of removed teeth is great.

Root Canal 

This option may be chosen if the veterinarian is highly skilled and there having the tooth remain in the mouth will benefit the cat. 


This treatment can allow the cat to have some tooth function back by inserting a cover over the remainder of chipped or broken teeth. Dentinal tubules are sealed prior to the installation of a crown.


If any infection is present in the mouth, antibiotics will be needed to rid the body of harmful bacteria. Prescriptions generally last from two to four weeks. 

Recovery of Discolored Teeth in Cats

Cats respond very well when mouth pain that leads to tooth discoloration is relieved. You may notice a behavioral change for the better. The quality of life can be greatly improved for the cat after successful treatment. Diet should be adjusted to include crunchy items to help save the other teeth. Often a toothache will follow many dental treatments, but prognosis is generally good, unless the cat is suffering from substantial trauma affecting multiple parts of the body.

Regular dental inspection should be a part of your cat’s annual vet visit. You can also regularly monitor your cat’s mouth for any variation in tooth color. It is a good idea to invest in a toothbrush and toothpaste for your cat. Most cat toothpaste contains enzymes that help control plaque buildup. It is best to start brushing gently without toothpaste. Eventually, when the cat is comfortable with the feeling of a brushing, toothpaste can be added. Brushing the teeth once a week is often all that is needed to maintain oral health.

Discolored Teeth Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

6 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

Tooth Ache

My boyfriends cat has a loose tooth we thought was a snaggletooth until today when we checked her teeth like always. Unfortunately we can't afford to go to the vet. We're a little worried because she seems to have some orange buildup at the top. It looks like it wants to fall out but it's having trouble. What can we do to help her? She's been like this for a few months. I only started checking because she had trouble eating and I checked her mouth only to find out her teeth are all little. Shes a Siamese cat btw!

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations
Without examining Crystal I cannot give an indication to the best way to proceed with this tooth, I would recommend you find a charity clinic to look at the tooth and to determine if it can be coaxed out or requires a dental extraction under general anaesthesia. I understand that finances can be tight but sometimes there are no shortcuts. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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10 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

unsure footing

my 10-11 year old cat has black upper center teeth fangs are white but center uppers are really darkly stained he has slowed his crunchie food in the last week wet food at night seems okay to her guess I should take her in?
can I give her baby asprin crushed in she is in pain but can't tell me just a bit of asprin might make her more comfortable till I can get her into the vets?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations
Black teeth may be due to trauma to the mouth, resorption of calcium from the teeth among other causes; you should visit your Veterinarian as soon as possible for an examination and to determine the specific cause for the discoloured teeth. I would advise against aspirin as it thins the blood and may be an issue if there is some bleeding around the teeth. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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5 Years
Serious condition
0 found helpful
Serious condition

Two upper long teeth are both bad. One is halfway black and the other one is pink in the middle like it's been bleeding. She won't eat or drink water it hurts so much.

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations
It sounds like pulpitis which is commonly caused by trauma; you should visit your Veterinarian to examine the teeth to confirm and to determine whether it is reversible pulpitis or not. There is no at home treatment, just feed wet food until you visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Russian Blue
3 Years
Mild condition
0 found helpful
Mild condition

Has Symptoms

mild gingavitis

what colour should the molars on a cat be? my 3 1/2 yr old cat has a very light yellow colour on his back teeth. is this normal? i have been brushing his teeth for 1 month now. how long will it take to get them white like his fangs and front and sides?

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3318 Recommendations
In theory all teeth should be white, in practice this can vary due to enamel, discolouration due to disease, malnutrition among other disorders. It is possible that the molars are covered with plaque (tartar) which may conform to the shape of the teeth but is not the crown of the tooth; it would be best to check in with your Veterinarian as a cleaning may be required. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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