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Annual Dental Cleanings versus t/d

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I didn't want to go back to this, I have successfully weaned my cats off dry food completely and switched them to 100% canned food. But Spotty's teeth are in really bad shape and my vet is strongly reccommending that I supplement his diet with Hill's t/d after getting his teeth cleaned. I know the ingredients are crappy but I also know that unlike any other kibble, the t/d diet works. I've used it in the past and my cats have had perfect teeth. I just think it's not so good for the rest of the cat.

Spotty is so prone to heavy tarter build up and gingivitis that I am forced to make a decision. I can either spend $700.00 to $1,000.00 every year on a dental cleaning for him under anesthesia or I can supplement his canned food diet with t/d.

I've tried to get my vet to understand why the t/d isn't such a great diet. I told her it's full of corn and BHA and BHT. Her response is that it has to be a balanced diet or they couldn't put it on the market and that preservatives are in it but won't hurt the cat and that I get to control how much he eats on a daily basis since I wouldn't be feeding it as the sole diet. I told her my concerns about gastrointestinal upset, back when I fed t/d as a staple Spotty ate his dry food too fast and threw up. The vet said that's caused by a lack of moisture so a mix of wet food and t/d would balance it. However according to my book by Dr Elizabeth Hodgkins, these dry dental diets with their indigestible fibers such as powdered cellulose place an unnatural burden on the cat's gastrointestinal tact.

Brushing Spotty's teeth every day is unrealistic. He fights. What would you do? Would you rather get annual expensive dental cleanings under anesthesia for your cat or supplement with edible toothbrush kibble made with the kind of ingredients you can find in Cat Chow?
post #2 of 20
Being in that situation, I'd opt for the dental cleanings. That said, there are other things you can try. C.E.T. makes lots of yummy toothpaste flavors, so you might be able to find one he'll lick off the toothbrush. Even if you aren't able to get the mechanical action of brushing, the C.E.T. toothpastes have helpful enzymes. They also make some really big cat treats that seem to help as well--they have similar enzymes. You could also try feeding just a small amount of the t/d--treat it like dessert and offer a few pieces after the meal.

Odo's my old boy--about 14 years--and he's had three dentals so far. I've been giving him the C.E.T. dental treats and trying to get him to just lick some of the toothpaste, and it seems to be helping control his tartar build up. His teeth were nowhere near as awful at his last visit as they had been in the past.
post #3 of 20
I day cleanings and some enzyme cleaner or chew like cet
post #4 of 20
I found it interesting when I worked in the human health food industry that the stores sold "organic" oils, but also sold BHA and BHT to be added to them. Why? Because oils go rancid pretty quickly, once they're opened.

One science fiction book I read years ago theorized that 200 years from now, it will be discovered that smoking, caffeine, and alcohol were actually good for us! I'd call that the author's wishful thinking, but there are some oddities about the additives in our foods; one is that food poisoning is a pretty insignificant cause of death these days.
post #5 of 20
Are you really that uncomfortable with the t/d that you don't even what to give him a little bit? Like maybe just 1/8 c as the last food of the day to nibble on overnight? I wouldn't think there would be a digestive problem with just a small amount.
post #6 of 20
Me personally I would do both.
post #7 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by moggiegirl View Post
I can either spend $700.00 to $1,000.00 every year on a dental cleaning for him under anesthesia or I can supplement his canned food diet with t/d.
First of all, I have to ask where you live that a vet can change that much money for a dental cleaning. I have NEVER heard of it costing that much. Our vet charges $150. My grandmother, in another state, paid $200 to have her German Shephard's teeth done. If you're really being charged that much for a dental cleaning I would be looking for another vet.

Secondly, I had a very extensive discussion with my vet about dental care in December. My MIL's 4 year old cat has early stages of gingivitis and she's kind of a lazy cat owner. So, my goal was to find out what was absolutely necessary. He said yearly dental cleanings, dry food - not necessarily t/d if you aren't willing to pay the price for it, but any dry is better than wet, dental treats, and daily brushing with an enzymatic toothpaste. He said if she was to continue feeding wet food, and not brushing she would have to bring her cat in every 6 months for a dental cleaning. But in the end, the t/d was not his priority.


[Disclaimer: I was not implying you are a lazy cat owner, but my MIL is and that is why I got in depth with the vet about the dental cleaning and t/d.]
post #8 of 20
NOTHING beats a real dental cleaning... but maybe you could combine it about 20% of the diet being t/d (proven minimum shown to produce effects) and do the cleanings every other year.

Also, your concerns about the excessive fiber are unfounded. Fiber of all types have been proven to be beneficial, even for carnivores like cats and dogs. I would not worry about supplementing with the t/d, most cats get far worse things as treats...
post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
First of all, I have to ask where you live that a vet can change that much money for a dental cleaning. I have NEVER heard of it costing that much. Our vet charges $150. My grandmother, in another state, paid $200 to have her German Shephard's teeth done. If you're really being charged that much for a dental cleaning I would be looking for another vet.
If your vet is doing a GOOD JOB of cleaning the teeth, it will cost megabucks. Anesthesia with complete monitoring (not a tech alone in the room with nobody paying attention to the animal) an IV catheter, ultrasonic cleaning, polishing, complete dental records, and dental radiographs are all part of a complete dental prophylaxis. If you aren't getting ALL of this, then that is more reason to find a new vet than costs...

700 is a lot, but not uncommon in metrapolitan areas. I would not pay this if I wasn't getting complete mouth dental radiographs however.
post #10 of 20
For Kandies dentals the range for different vets was 300 to 500 with xrays.... I do live in a small area ( ie NOT metropolitian)
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Well,the estimate given to me was under the assumption that they might have to pull teeth. I'm hoping they don't have to and they do everything that was mentioned and that's why they are pricey. This place is called Lifetime Animal Care. The other place near me is called Vetco and I believe they charge less but I don't believe they are very good vets. I have a bad feeling about corporation chains like Vetco.

I have tried CET chews and found that they don't work but that the T/D diet works very well so to feed 1/8 of a cup at night or maybe as 20% of the diet will be the solution. At least 80% of Spotty's diet will stay in the form of wet food. He does better on canned because when he eats kibble too fast he vomits and one time this excessive vomiting landed him in the ER for an inflamed nasopharynx. Don't want that again. He has to eat the wet stuff first. T/D will be dessert.

I will try to get him to lick the toothpaste and try brushing. The more he can tolerate brushing, the less T/D he needs but will need to be a treat to reward brushing.

Thanks for your replies.
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misskiwi67 View Post
If your vet is doing a GOOD JOB of cleaning the teeth, it will cost megabucks. Anesthesia with complete monitoring (not a tech alone in the room with nobody paying attention to the animal) an IV catheter, ultrasonic cleaning, polishing, complete dental records, and dental radiographs are all part of a complete dental prophylaxis. If you aren't getting ALL of this, then that is more reason to find a new vet than costs...
I used to be an intern for the vet I go to so I have seen dental cleanings first hand many times and know exactly what the procedure entails. Yes, he does the procedure himself, with anesthesia, a tech monitoring heart rate and breathing, cleaning, polishing, etc., and he still only charges $150 for a feline dental cleaning. This is exactly why I am shocked by the price and have never even heard of a dental cleaning being so high.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
First of all, I have to ask where you live that a vet can change that much money for a dental cleaning. I have NEVER heard of it costing that much. Our vet charges $150. My grandmother, in another state, paid $200 to have her German Shephard's teeth done. If you're really being charged that much for a dental cleaning I would be looking for another vet.

Secondly, I had a very extensive discussion with my vet about dental care in December. My MIL's 4 year old cat has early stages of gingivitis and she's kind of a lazy cat owner. So, my goal was to find out what was absolutely necessary. He said yearly dental cleanings, dry food - not necessarily t/d if you aren't willing to pay the price for it, but any dry is better than wet, dental treats, and daily brushing with an enzymatic toothpaste. He said if she was to continue feeding wet food, and not brushing she would have to bring her cat in every 6 months for a dental cleaning. But in the end, the t/d was not his priority.


[Disclaimer: I was not implying you are a lazy cat owner, but my MIL is and that is why I got in depth with the vet about the dental cleaning and t/d.]
I can't see where it would hurt to also feed some dry food, but dry food really doesn't do anything for their teeth. Cats do not chew (their jaws do not go side to side) so basically they break any larger pieces of dry food with the tip of the tooth and swallow. With smaller pieces they usually just swallow.

The comparison I usually make is if you were to eat dry soda crackers or a bowl of beef stew - which would leave the most residue on your teeth after you swallowed? You would have more of the soda cracker gunk on your teeth and between them than you would from the stew.

Fortunately vets are getting more educated on this issue and are coming to realize the value of a wet diet over a dry diet. But then if your kitty won't eat wet food it's a moot point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
I used to be an intern for the vet I go to so I have seen dental cleanings first hand many times and know exactly what the procedure entails. Yes, he does the procedure himself, with anesthesia, a tech monitoring heart rate and breathing, cleaning, polishing, etc., and he still only charges $150 for a feline dental cleaning. This is exactly why I am shocked by the price and have never even heard of a dental cleaning being so high.

I can assure you a dental cleaning in our area in Canada is certainly going to be in excess of $150 - in fact I believe it may be closer to $400.

ETA: Just called our dentist and a basic cleaning is $695.06. If extractions were needed that would be added to that cost.
post #14 of 20
Thread Starter 
I know dry food in general does not clean the teeth but the T/D is an exceptional prescription dental diet made of signifantly larger kibble and a sponge like interior. It actually scrubs the tooth up to the gum line when the cat bites in scissor motion, as long as the cat bites it. This food actually does work. In fact there is not another kibble on the market that does what T/D does. I know from past experience because my cats had excellent teeth on this diet but as soon as I switched to something else, such as a different dry food or canned food, the excessive tarter on Spotty's teeth came back. Now it looks really bad. The only reason I took my cats off the T/D is because of the inferior ingredients in these Hill's prescription diets as well as Spotty's tendency to vomit if he eats too much dry food too quickly.
post #15 of 20
I would feed raw chicken wings once or twice a week rather than the t/d. I tried the t/d at one time and Jaffa managed to swallow that whole
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Assuming all cats know what to do with a raw chicken wing. It's a great idea but my middle aged borderline senior cat hasn't had that training and doesn't even care for raw food that is mushy pate style, unless I sprinkle freezed dried chicken on it but then he licks off the freeze dried treat and leaves the raw food.

Thanks for the suggestion anyway.
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by moggiegirl View Post
I know dry food in general does not clean the teeth but the T/D is an exceptional prescription dental diet made of signifantly larger kibble and a sponge like interior. It actually scrubs the tooth up to the gum line when the cat bites in scissor motion, as long as the cat bites it. This food actually does work. In fact there is not another kibble on the market that does what T/D does. I know from past experience because my cats had excellent teeth on this diet but as soon as I switched to something else, such as a different dry food or canned food, the excessive tarter on Spotty's teeth came back. Now it looks really bad. The only reason I took my cats off the T/D is because of the inferior ingredients in these Hill's prescription diets as well as Spotty's tendency to vomit if he eats too much dry food too quickly.
Yes, the fibers in the food are basically woven, and the kibble is designed to not break apart until the cats tooth punctures all the way through it. That way it scrapes the whole tooth and the large kibble size forces the cat to chew.

Also, if the cost is such a concern, being that 700-1000 is very, very high, would it be possible to find a vet that charges less? If it's 200% the cost in a metropolitan area, wouldn't it be possible to drive to a smaller town to see another vet just for the dental work?
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
I'd rather stick with the place that is walking distance. I don't have a car and I'd hate to drag my cats on the bus or spend extra on cab fare. Thanks. I live in the city of San Diego so at a decent vet clinic I imagine the prices won't be cheap.

It may not even be $700.00, it depends on what's involved in the cleaning such as if they have to pull teeth.
post #19 of 20
I just got my oldest cat's teeth cleaned, I also got a full blood panel, 2 chest x-rays, and and ekg hook up. My total was $400. That price also included pain medication and two weeks of antibiotics and some extractions.
post #20 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by moggiegirl View Post
Assuming all cats know what to do with a raw chicken wing. It's a great idea but my middle aged borderline senior cat hasn't had that training and doesn't even care for raw food that is mushy pate style,
Fair enough! My Jaffa had never had a raw chicken wing until a few months ago (age 10) and has taken to eating them like a duck to water Mosi isn't impressed with raw and will only eat very small pieces (he likes the taste but can't cope with any kind of food that has large pieces) but he's gradually getting used to larger pieces and will now eat bigger pieces of raw meat than he would a few months ago.
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