My Cat Lost A Fang Tooth

I’ll never forget the morning I woke up and found my beloved cat Paws sitting on my chest, meowing loudly. As I reached up to pet her, I noticed something strange – one of her fangs was missing! My sweet Paws had lost a tooth, seemingly overnight. At first, I panicked, wondering if she was in pain or if something was seriously wrong. Losing a tooth can be scary and confusing when you’re a pet owner. In this article, I’ll walk through everything I learned after discovering Paws’ lost fang, from potential causes to when veterinary care is needed. My goal is to provide cat owners with helpful information to understand tooth loss in cats, so you know what to expect if your furry friend loses a tooth.

Causes of Tooth Loss in Cats

There are several potential causes for tooth loss in cats:

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the most common cause of tooth loss in cats. It occurs when plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, leading to inflammation and infection of the gums and tooth roots. If left untreated, periodontal disease can cause severe pain, tooth mobility, and eventual tooth loss


Injuries or trauma to a cat’s mouth, such as being hit by a car or an object, can lead to fractured, damaged, or lost teeth. Cats that go outside are at higher risk of this type of dental injury. Additionally, some cats may damage their teeth by chewing on hard objects or surfaces

Genetic Conditions

Certain genetic conditions can make a cat’s teeth more prone to falling out or require extraction. These include issues like malocclusion, where the teeth are misaligned, and polyodontia, where there are extra teeth. Cleft palate in cats can also cause teeth to be poorly rooted and fragile

Signs Your Cat is Losing Teeth

There are several signs that may indicate your cat is experiencing tooth loss or dental issues:

Bad breath – Halitosis or foul-smelling breath can signify dental disease in cats. The odor is often described as rancid or rotten. According to the VCA, bad breath is one of the most common signs of dental disease in cats (

Bleeding or swollen gums – Inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis, often occurs with periodontal disease. You may notice red, swollen gums that bleed easily when touched or when eating, per Cornell University’s Feline Health Center (

Difficulty eating – Your cat may show signs of discomfort or pain when eating, such as pawing at their mouth. WebMD states they may chew with obvious discomfort or drop food from their mouth (

Decreased appetite – Dental pain can lead to decreased appetite in cats. They may eat less food or refuse hard kibble.

Drooling – Excessive drooling or dribbling can sometimes occur with dental issues, although it is more common in dogs.

Dangers of Tooth Loss

Tooth loss in cats can lead to some serious health issues if left untreated. According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, the three main dangers of tooth loss in cats are:


Cats may experience significant pain and discomfort when they lose teeth. The roots of the teeth are still embedded in the gums, which can become infected and inflamed, causing a lot of pain for cats [1]. Cats may show signs of pain such as reduced appetite, drooling, and behavioral changes.


The empty tooth socket left behind after a tooth falls out is prone to infection. Bacteria can enter the socket and cause an abscess or infection of the jaw bone according to VCA Hospitals [2]. This infection can spread to other parts of the body and make the cat very ill if left untreated.


Cats with significant tooth loss often have a difficult time eating properly, especially if their premolars and molars are affected. The inability to chew food properly can lead to malnutrition over time. Cats may lose weight and muscle mass since they cannot eat enough.

When to See the Vet

In most cases of tooth loss, it is a good idea to have your cat examined by a vet. Here are some guidelines for when you should make an appointment:

Recommend annual dental exam – Even if your cat seems fine, it is a good idea to have a veterinary dental exam done annually. Your vet can check for signs of gum disease, fractures, resorption, and other issues that could lead to tooth loss if left untreated. An annual exam allows problems to be caught early.

Seek treatment for multiple lost teeth – If your cat loses more than 1-2 teeth, it is important to have your vet evaluate the cause. Multiple lost teeth can indicate an underlying disease, infection, or trauma that requires treatment.

Signs of pain or infection – If your cat is showing signs of mouth pain such as reduced eating, drooling, or bad breath, see your vet right away. These could indicate an infected tooth socket or other issues requiring medication or extraction.

In general, any time you notice your cat has lost a tooth, an exam is a good idea to make sure there are no lingering issues. Your vet can also advise you on how to care for your cat to minimize discomfort after tooth loss.

Diagnosis by Vet

If you notice signs of tooth loss or other dental issues in your cat, it’s important to take them to the vet for a proper diagnosis. The vet will perform a full oral exam to look for potential causes of tooth loss or infection, such as gingivitis, periodontal disease, trauma, or cancer.

In addition to visually examining the mouth, the vet may take dental x-rays to get a better look at the tooth roots and surrounding bone structure. According to the VCA, dental x-rays are crucial for identifying abscesses, resorptive lesions, and other issues not visible on the surface. They require the cat to be under general anesthesia.

The vet may also recommend bloodwork to check for underlying illnesses contributing to dental disease, such as kidney disease or diabetes. Routine bloodwork can also make sure your cat is healthy enough for anesthesia.

Treatment Options

If your cat is diagnosed with an infection or other dental issue causing tooth loss, the vet may prescribe the following treatments:

Antibiotics: Antibiotics can treat infections and prevent them from worsening. Common antibiotics prescribed include clindamycin and amoxicillin (from

Pain Medication: Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like meloxicam can help manage pain and inflammation associated with dental issues (from

Tooth Extraction: If the tooth is severely damaged or infected, the vet may recommend extraction to prevent further pain and infection. Extractions allow wounds to heal and prevent bacteria from spreading (from

Dental Cleaning: A professional dental cleaning can remove tartar and plaque that cause gum disease, infections, and tooth loss. It allows a thorough assessment and treatment of all dental issues (from

Caring for Your Cat After Tooth Loss

After your cat has undergone tooth extraction surgery, you will need to take some steps to properly care for them during recovery. Some important aspects of post-surgery care include:

Feeding soft foods – It’s recommended to feed your cat only soft, canned foods for several days after surgery. This will prevent irritation to the surgical site as your cat eats. Hard kibble or treats could cause pain and impact healing. Gradually transition back to normal foods after about a week.[1]

Daily tooth brushing – Keeping the remaining teeth clean is crucial after an extraction. Brush your cat’s teeth daily with a soft toothbrush and pet-safe toothpaste. This removes plaque and bacteria and promotes dental health.

Regular dental cleanings – Even after losing a tooth, your cat still needs professional dental cleanings. Vets recommend annual cleanings to prevent periodontal disease. This keeps the mouth healthy and may prevent the need for more extractions down the road.

Preventing Future Tooth Loss

There are a few key ways to help prevent your cat from losing more teeth in the future:

One of the most effective methods is to brush your cat’s teeth daily. According to Cornell University, “The best way to prevent gingivitis in cats is to regularly remove plaque build-up by tooth brushing” [1]. Be sure to use a toothpaste formulated specifically for cats and introduce brushing slowly and positively.

Transitioning your cat to a dental or veterinary diet can also help reduce plaque buildup and tooth decay. These diets are designed to mechanically clean teeth as your cat chews and may contain ingredients to reduce bacteria in the mouth.

Regular vet exams are also essential for monitoring your cat’s oral health. Your vet can identify issues early and recommend prevention tips and treatments. According to Plymouth vet clinic, “Regular dental exams allow the vet to perform a complete oral assessment on your cat to diagnose and treat any underlying health issues.” [2]




In summary, tooth loss in cats is a common occurrence as they age. The main causes are periodontal disease, tooth fractures, and congenital issues. Signs to look out for include trouble eating, bad breath, bleeding gums, and facial swelling. Left untreated, tooth loss can lead to other health issues and infections. At the first signs of dental problems, take your cat to the vet for an exam. The vet will likely take x-rays and recommend treatment options like tooth extractions, antibiotics, and special diets. After extractions, you’ll need to monitor your cat closely and feed wet food to aid healing. With diligent at-home dental care and annual vet cleanings, you can help prevent future tooth loss.

Be sure to continuously check your cat’s mouth for signs of dental disease. Their health and comfort depends on healthy teeth and gums. Monitor their eating habits and notify your vet if you observe symptoms. With proper care, your cat can enjoy many happy years even after losing a tooth.

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