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What is Tooth Fracture?

Fractures most commonly affect the canine tooth, or “fang”, which is typically the longest tooth in the cat’s mouth. The pulp extends almost to the tip of the canine tooth, therefore making pulp damage more likely if these teeth are fractured even a slightly. Thorough daily oral care is key in preventing tooth fracture and noticing it before any serious damage can occur.

Tooth fracture is a relatively common disorder in cats. It may not be serious or life-threatening, and may not ever bother the cat. However, if the tooth pulp – or the living connective tissue located in the center of the tooth – is damaged, the fracture will result in further dental problems if left untreated. These problems include bacterial infection and death of the pulp tissue (known as endodontic disease).

Tooth Fracture Average Cost

From 401 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

Symptoms of Tooth Fracture in Cats

Symptoms of tooth fracture in cats may not be immediately apparent because your cat may not be exhibiting any. In minor cases of tooth fracture, your cat’s eating habits and appetite may not change at all. Additionally, they may not experience any sort of pain or discomfort.

Look out for these symptoms of tooth fracture:

  • Signs of pain or discomfort during eating
  • Chewing food on one side of the mouth
  • Blood in the mouth or coming from the tooth
  • Pus or swelling as a result of infection

If you suspect your cat has a fractured tooth but they aren’t showing any symptoms, there is a possibility that the tooth pulp has already died and that infection has occurred. In this case, the body’s immune system has successfully fought off the infection, therefore masking outward symptoms. Damaged tooth pulp may take weeks or months to die, and your cat may not show any symptoms at all during this time.

In all cases of tooth fracture, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible, as cats are notorious for hiding their symptoms from their owners. If your cat’s tooth is bleeding, you need to take it to the vet immediately, as it has suffered damage to the dental pulp.

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Causes of Tooth Fracture in Cats

The most common causes of tooth fractures in cats are from chewing on hard objects, rough play, and direct trauma. In older cats, attrition – or the natural reduction of tooth tissue due to constant tooth-to-tooth contact – may be a cause. Similarly, abrasion – or the wearing down of teeth due to a foreign object – can also be the culprit. Presently, no other known dental diseases or conditions cause tooth fracture.

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Diagnosis of Tooth Fracture in Cats

Your vet will first examine your cat’s teeth, initially looking for outward signs of tooth pulp damage. The vet will likely ask you when you first noticed the fracture, as well as whether or not any traumatic events have occurred that may have caused the fracture. Be sure to inform the vet of all your cat’s symptoms, as this will aid them in determining if your cat’s fracture will require a more invasive treatment.

In order to determine whether or not there has been any pulp damage, your vet may choose to administer anesthesia to or otherwise sedate your cat and perform a radiography. They may also choose to perform a dental X-ray.

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Treatment of Tooth Fracture in Cats

If there has been no pulp damage, the fracture is merely a cosmetic problem and will not require treatment. However, if pulp damage is evident, the fractured tooth will have to be extracted or treated with a root canal. Any surrounding damage to the gums or soft tissues of the mouth will also be treated during this time.

Root canal is often the recommended course of treatment. Following the removal of infected pulpal tissue, the tooth will then be fully restored using a tooth-colored composite material which will seal the tooth and prevent future infection. Your vet will perform a radiograph afterward to ensure that the entire tooth has been filled.

In the event that the pulp has died and resulted in infection, the tooth will be extracted. The infection may be treated with antibiotics if it persists following extraction. Antibiotics, if administered without extracting the tooth or otherwise treating the damaged pulp, will cure the bacterial infection temporarily. However, the infection will likely recur as soon as the medication is discontinued.

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Recovery of Tooth Fracture in Cats

Root canal therapy is typically completely curative with no further problems. 

Recovering from a tooth extraction may not be so easy, particularly if the canine tooth is affected. Extraction can be painful for cats because the root of the canine is longer and wider than the part of the canine that you can see. Extraction is a more major surgery, and will require anesthesia.

Following an extraction, your vet may prescribe pain management medication. Your vet may also recommend that you feed your cat soft or wet food during recovery to minimize pain.

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Tooth Fracture Average Cost

From 401 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800

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Tooth Fracture Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Tabby mix

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Sixteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Grinding Sound Coming From Mouth

I’ve been hearing I grinding noise coming from my kitty cat and I’m very scared.

July 15, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello From what you are describing, it sounds like your pet is grinding his teeth. This can be normal. Is he acting normally? Eating and drinking well? If you are concerned, you can call your vet to make an appointment for an exam. Good luck.

July 15, 2020

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Rhea

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tabby

dog-age-icon

3 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Broken Tooth

Hello! At a vet check up, we discovered that our cat is missing both top and bottom canine teeth on one side only. The vet would like to examine her under anaesthesia. The teeth appear to be completely snapped off down to the gums but the roots are still there. I read on another website that removing the canines can reduce the integrity of the jaw, reducing protection in the event of another fall. The website said that without the canine roots, jaw shatter is more common. Is this something we should consider with a clumsy cat? Would a cap be better than an extraction in this case?

Sept. 16, 2018

Rhea's Owner

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Kyan

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dsh

dog-age-icon

9 Years

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Fair severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Very Small Chipped Upper Right Canine

When Kyan went to jump and harass Nyla, Kyan chipped his upper right canine. It's juuuuust the very tip of the tooth, but I can see what appears to be a vein, except there's no bleeding. Is there anything I can do for him until I get him to the vet? Is there something I can dab on his tooth to prevent bleeding and infection?

Sept. 15, 2018

Kyan's Owner

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Sidney

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DOMESTIC

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7 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None

My fiancé and I got home to find my cat's canine/fang tooth on the floor. There wasnt any trailing blood or blood in his mouth. He acted as normal when we got home meowing for food. When I managed to look in his mouth the area looked a little swallow and the tooth seemed to have fresh blood on it. Sidney absolutely hates the vet,we are so nervous on what to do at this point. Any suggestions?

Aug. 19, 2018

Sidney's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If the whole canine tooth has come out, that area may heal normally and he may not need further treatment. If he has dental disease that caused his teeth to be unhealthy, or a trauma that caused that problem, he may need further care. If he is eating and drinking and acting normally, it would make sense to keep a close eye on him, and his mouth, and make sure that it isn't getting swollen, red, or painful. If those things are happening, he should be seen by a veterinarian.

Aug. 19, 2018

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Spanky

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Black cat

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6 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Cat hasn't eaten for two days. It was due to the excessive heat found out she has a broken front tooth and his gums are swollen how do I treat a swollen gums and the pain

July 20, 2018

Spanky's Owner

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recommendation-ribbon

3320 Recommendations

There is no real safe pain relief to give to Spanky which is available over the counter, if the tooth has been broken it should be seen by your Veterinarian to determine whether the tooth should be extracted, filled or capped. Human over the counter anti inflammatories are toxic for cats and I wouldn’t recommend the use of aspirin for animals in this case. You should visit your Veterinarian for an examination. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 20, 2018

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Frida

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European Shorthair

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2 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Cheek Swelling
Tearing From Right Eye

My cat fell when the climbed down the bookcase and chipped her upper right canine. I didn't notice at first, but when her cheek started to swell I looked at her teeth and noticed it. She doesn't act different than before, and doesn't eat her food on one side, but her cheek is swollen and her right eye tears up. On an additional note, the swelling feels hard to the touch. All of this happened 3 days ago. Any advice?

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Wally

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domestic short hair

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4 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

No Appetite

i just adopted a 4 month old cat, and it’s my second day with him. I noticed that he was trying to get something out of his mouth and i opened his mouth and his canine tooth looks snapped, and is bent to the side. i don’t know what happened or what to do. how much would treating this cost?? i am tight on money but only want the best for him

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Mabel

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Calico

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3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

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pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

None.

My cat lost her balance this morning, and fell off a ledge about 10 feet and fell on some concrete stairs on her side. She got up immediately and ran to the door. When I was examining her, I noticed her top left canine tooth was chipped and she had a cut on her lower lip. It also looked as if her tooth was bleeding but I couldn’t tell if it was blood from the cut. With further examination, I noticed the part of her tooth that chipped off is embedded in her lower lip. She won’t let me touch it, nor do I want to hurt her with trying to get it out. My family tells me it’s fine and that it will fall out, but I am still worried. Should I take her to the vet, or am I overreacting?

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Kaleo

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dsh

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Active After His Buprenorphine

My cat, Kaleo, 6,experienced some type of trauma to his face a few weeks ago. He broke an upper canine which now had a jagged edge. The other canine got pushed a bit & the root area is bulging. He is on buprenorphine every 8 hours for pain since his knee surgery related to that same traumatic day. He moves great though, can jump up on low items like the sofa, eats well, eliminates, etc. I wonder does he even need to see a dental veterinarian?

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Millie

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Calico

dog-age-icon

8 Months

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Mouth Trama

My cat ran up on the garage to play..she runs around FAST it scared me but yesterday she was on the highest point and fell right into her face. It's all bloody, all around her mouth. She fell hard. Her teeth feel sharp so I dont know. With such trauma fo her mouth, teeth. I know she was hurt she hid out for a few hours. I saw her eating so I guess I'll just keep an eye...any advice.

Tooth Fracture Average Cost

From 401 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$800