Skip to Content

My Cat Needs A Tooth Pulled

My 13-year-old cat needs a tooth pulled.

Beamer has had bad teeth for a long time. 🙁

This would not surprise you if you only knew the things this cat has eaten—avocados, a whole corn cob, an entire frozen steak

One of Beamer’s top canines is brown and the gum around it is swollen and bright red.

The tooth will most likely be pulled.

I never imagined I would spend this kind of money on a cat’s vet bills – a tooth cleaning and “polishing,” x-rays and an extraction.

I normally don’t even bring my cats to the vet unless there’s a problem. It’s just that … they’re cats, and I truly don’t spend much money on them at all, as much as I love them.

Times have changed.

Beamer appears happy and healthy, but if we get his teeth cleaned (and at least one pulled), I expect he’ll continue to live happily for many more years.

My cat needs a tooth pulled

When I brought Beamer in for his wellness exam last week, the vet asked me, “How’s his appetite?”


How’s his appetite? This cat eats everything in sight!

In fact, he stole a piece of bacon off the counter that very day and ate the whole thing.

Oh Beamer …

How to afford a dog or cat’s dental work

One of the reasons more of us don’t do regular teeth cleanings for our pets is because, well, it’s expensive.

The quote I was given for my cat’s dental work starts at $817. This is for bloodwork, a dental cleaning under anesthesia, x-rays, and a surgical tooth extraction.

I’m going to assume this quote is higher than average. Welcome to living on the beach where everything is more expensive.

I’m lucky I’m able to “afford” my cat’s vet bills mostly by using Care Credit (a health credit card). But I’m aware this is not an option for everyone, depending on what kind of credit you have.

Here are a few tips for saving money on your pet’s dental work:

  • Ask for a discount. It doesn’t hurt. Ask for 10 or 15 percent off.
  • Get a quote from a second or third vet.
  • Ask how urgent the dental work is. Could it wait six months? What are the consequences? Ask if the vet thinks your pet is in pain.
  • Discuss the estimate in details. Perhaps just pulling a tooth is what’s really needed and you could decline the cleaning. Perhaps X-rays are not truly needed. Perhaps bloodwork is not needed if it was recently done for another reason, etc.
  • Ask about anesthesia-free teeth cleaning (probably not for most cats, but an option for a lot of dogs)

And to be honest, had I done more to care for Beamer’s teeth over the last decade—like brushed his teeth regularly and taken him in for dental cleanings—he may not be in this position today of needing a tooth pulled.

In some ways, taking your pet in for regular dental cleanings—even every couple of years—could save you money in the long run.

But the reality is I don’t brush my cats’ teeth and I don’t take them in for dental cleanings … ever. This will be the first.

I’m going to do a much better job with dental care for our new puppy. As for my three senior pets, well … I guess we’re doing what we can.

Have any of you taken a dog or cat in for a dental cleaning recently?

How did it go?

See my posts:

But I can’t afford a dental cleaning for my dog!

Alternatives to brushing a dog’s teeth

Why I don’t vaccinate my indoor cats

Behind the scenes at my dog’s dental cleaning

My cat needs a tooth pulled

Kim Peterson

Wednesday 23rd of March 2016

That is high! Levi just had all that done last month but only 1 tooth and it was $120. Next time bring him back to MN!

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 23rd of March 2016

Good grief! Welcome to California where everything is more expensive.

Kimberly Gauthier

Thursday 10th of March 2016

My cat had his cleaning yesterday and one tooth was extracted. There was blood work, 2 x-rays (he has a heart murmur so they had to x-ray his chest too). What surprised me was the fluoride treatment and they told me that I have to brush his teeth daily. I've never had to do this with a cat.

My bill was under $700. I was prepared and had saved the money. They gave me a $50 credit for pet dental awareness month (February).

Cosmo recovered quickly and he's eating canned food, but misses his kibble. He doesn't know that he's not going to have kibble anymore. Shhhhh.

Lindsay Stordahl

Friday 11th of March 2016

Oh I'm glad you were able to do all this for Cosmo. I'm not sure what I'm going to feed Beamer after this but he pretty much just inhales all food anyway, doesn't even chew it. I wonder if I should start brushing his teeth after this? He is a pretty easygoing cat and tolerates a lot, but their mouths are so tiny! Are you going to brush Cosmo's teeth?


Thursday 10th of March 2016

by the way, My Sara looks very similar to your Beamer.


Thursday 10th of March 2016

I had to have one of my cats, Sara's canine teeth pulled years ago (don't remember the cost) She is now 19 & happy & healthy (I also haven't taken my cats to the vet since they were younger as they are indoor cats). However my dog Abby just had to have a tooth pulled (she had dental cleaning & anesthesia, & also bloodwork (because she was 9 yrs old). The cost was $380.00 & I thought that was high! The vet told me if she had to extract a canine it would probably be a lot more than a molar cost because they go in as deep as they are long on the outside & it involves quite a bit of drilling.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 10th of March 2016

Glad to hear Sara is doing well now, and hopefully Abby is doing well too! Would love to see a pic of Sara sometime.

Jana Rade

Thursday 10th of March 2016

Actually, the quote doesn't sound crazy high. Our guys usually get quoted $700 -$1200 depending on what needs to be done. This stuff isn't cheap but considering what goes into it, however unpleasant, it's reasonable.

I think the best way to afford this is with a clinic that uses "veterinary plans." Jasmine's vet started offering plans few years back. There are three plan levels, with the highest level including free dental. Payments can be done monthly, though there are bigger savings if one pays up front.

Lindsay Stordahl

Thursday 10th of March 2016

Good! Thanks Jana!