How to treat a cat with an abscessed tooth

Updated November 21, 2016

A cat tooth abscess is similar to a human tooth abscess. Plaque and bacteria build up on the tooth, attacking the tooth itself and the area surrounding the tooth. As the bacteria attack the gum tissue, it causes an abscess. Symptoms include drooling, bad breath and swelling or bleeding of the area. Treatment is essential to prevent the abscess from becoming worse and progressing into other medical complications. An untreated or improperly treated feline tooth abscess may result in the loss of the cat's tooth or even the death of the cat.

Visit your veterinarian for official diagnosis of the dental abscess. Your veterinarian will perform an examination and take dental X-rays of your cat to confirm that an abscess is the problem.

Get a dental flush for your cat. A dental flush is provided by a veterinarian and involves draining the abscess under sterile conditions and flushing the cavity created with a sterile solution. This removes bacteria to prevent further infection.

Administer antibiotics your veterinarian prescribes for your cat as directed. The antibiotics used for a dental abscess vary depending on severity of the infection. Providing your cat with antibiotics eliminates swelling and pus from the abscess cavity.

Consider having the infected tooth extracted once the infection has cleared and the affected area has healed. In cases of minor infection due to dental abscess, the cat's tooth may be saved. In cases of severe infection, the tooth should be surgically removed by a veterinarian to prevent further infection or complications.

Prevent further dental problems by brushing your cat's teeth daily with a feline toothbrush and feline toothpaste, which is available from your veterinarian or in pet stores.


An annual dental examination by your veterinarian is helpful in prevention of abscessed teeth as well as maintaining overall dental health.

Things You'll Need

  • Dental flush
  • Antibiotics
  • Feline toothbrush and toothpaste
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