Tooth Fracture in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Tooth Fracture in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Tooth Fracture in Cats - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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 slightly. Trauma avoidance and 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).

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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
  • A visibly broken tooth

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. In this case, the body’s immune system has successfully prevented any 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. Oral tumours can also be a factor for some.

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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 radiography. 

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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 the pulp is exposed, 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 when available and affordable. 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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Worried about the cost of Tooth Fracture treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery of Tooth Fracture in Cats

Root canal therapy is typically completely curative with no further problems. It usually requires referral to a specialist.

Tooth extraction is more affordable and can be performed by all GP vets.

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.

Paying for to treat tooth fractures out of pocket can be a major financial burden. Fortunately, most pet insurance companies reimburse claims within 3 days, putting 90% of the bill back in your pocket. In the market for pet insurance? Compare leading pet insurance companies to find the right plan for your pet.

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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

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domestic short hair

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Three Years

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13 found helpful

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13 found helpful

Has Symptoms

The tiny tip is missing from my cats top canine tooth. Doesnt seem to hurt. I never noticed it before. He yawned and I say its flat. But it is just a really small piece missing.

Dec. 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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13 Recommendations

Thank you for such a clear picture! The only issue would be if the pulp is exposed. In this case, we would see a slight indent and pinkish tissue where the tooth has chipped. However, this is unlikely as not much of the tooth has broken. This type of injury is not uncommon and rarely poses an issue. Do ask the vet to have a look when next in for a regular check and monitor for any symptoms such as excessive drooling or a reduced appetite.

Dec. 20, 2020

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Rhea

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tabby

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3 Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

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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Tooth Fracture Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$800

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