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Dental Cleaning?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I recently started taking a look at Sunny's teeth and realized they had a pretty nasty tartar build up. He is about 4 to 5 years old. I had been planning on brushing them myself and then realized that the tartar build up was so bad I couldn't even scrape it off with my nail. Well needless to say I brought him into the vet and he suggested a professional cleaning from him. Which I would be all for except the fact that they have to put him under anesthesia to do it and he said there is always a risk involved. Also he said he might need to extract some teeth while he does the cleaning but he wasn't sure. I then asked him if he was going to take x-rays of his teeth and he said no. How can he know which teeth need to come out if he doesn't even give him an x-ray? When I asked around to a couple of my friends that have cats they said they have never gotten there cats teeth cleaned before. I don't know what to do, I want to get it done in one hand but I have heard horror stories of other cats dying after they get there teeth cleaned and teeth extracted. Anyone else have this done before? Any opinions or info will be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 25
Hi ! I do not know if this is very helpful, I have 3 cats, one 17 had only 1 cleaning in her life, second 11 and never had to clean his teeth and a 2.5 yr old that had tartar and gum infection
I think some cats have better teeth than others, is also the way they are eating and what they eat, if your cat is not chewing then his teeth will never get cleaned with the dry food, my youngest swalows everything since he was a baby, he is a little piggy.. he rarely chews and I think that is the problem. I recently bought waltham - royal canin - dental dry food and because kibbles are a little larger he chews them better, so I give him a few for breakfast.

Do you see that your cat is in pain while eating? is he affraid from food? maybe he had this for a while and his teeth are in a really bad condition now.

Extracting teeth from a cat does not harm their ability to eat, a friend of mine had to take his cat's teeth out and the cat is happier than ever, she had a bad bad infection that never cured for years using antibiotics so they opted to extract teeth

Good luck !
post #3 of 25
While there is always a risk with any anesthesia, there are some very good anesthetics available, like propofol and isoflurane, and there are risks from not treating the dental issues early. Teeth with lots of tartar build-up are prone to allowing bacteria into the blood stream, so it is a good idea to have them cleaned and then start a maintenance program.

That said, some vets do take x-rays, and I would encourage you to either talk to other vets or ask your vet whether they know someone who has x-ray capabilities (if you feel comfortable asking that of your vet and if you don't think your vet would react poorly).
post #4 of 25
I just had Bijou's teeth done - they were bad and his breath was horrible. Anaesthetic is always a concern - whether on human or animal but usually there are no problems.

As far as x-rays go, I would imagine a cat would have to be anaesthetized in order to get decent x-rays so I'm not sure if they would do that while the cat was under having the clean and they notice a bad-looking tooth - then they would x-ray to confirm or deny their suspicions.
post #5 of 25
My five year old male had his teeth cleaned last year, because he was starting a tartar build-up. Because we caught it early, he was only under for about 10-15 minutes. There's always a risk with any procedure, human or otherwise, but it can be a lot worse for your cat if you delay and he starts experiencing significant decay leading to gum disease and/or tooth loss.

I'd think your vet will definitely recommend you have blood work done first - this helps determine if there are any unusual risks for your cat during the procedure. A lot of times they really don't know how significant the work may be until the cat is asleep and they can do a really thorough exam, but that's more, I think, due to the nature of cats' not being really all that willing to say 'ahh' than poor vet dentistry.

Yes, it's scary for you - I actually called my vet for reassurance when I got mine home and he was staggering around for a bit, but, honestly, it's most likely a lot better you get the teeth cleaned now, rather than wait. Good luck - I totally understand your reluctance but
post #6 of 25
My dog just had his teeth done last week. They did take his blood before the procedure and would not have continued had anything showed up that it was unsafe. Im sure your kity will be fine.
post #7 of 25
If you go ahead and have the dental work done (I would), there are a number of precautions you should first read and consider, then print them off show them to your Vet and ensure they are followed. Even though this list is on a site devoted to kidney disease, they apply to any cat. They are numbers 2-7 here.
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny's Daddy View Post
I recently started taking a look at Sunny's teeth and realized they had a pretty nasty tartar build up. He is about 4 to 5 years old. I had been planning on brushing them myself and then realized that the tartar build up was so bad I couldn't even scrape it off with my nail. Well needless to say I brought him into the vet and he suggested a professional cleaning from him. Which I would be all for except the fact that they have to put him under anesthesia to do it and he said there is always a risk involved. Also he said he might need to extract some teeth while he does the cleaning but he wasn't sure. I then asked him if he was going to take x-rays of his teeth and he said no. How can he know which teeth need to come out if he doesn't even give him an x-ray? When I asked around to a couple of my friends that have cats they said they have never gotten there cats teeth cleaned before. I don't know what to do, I want to get it done in one hand but I have heard horror stories of other cats dying after they get there teeth cleaned and teeth extracted. Anyone else have this done before? Any opinions or info will be greatly appreciated!
Unfortunately, the only case I know of is a tragic one. The kitty (who was a much older kitty than yours, however) ended up dying because of complications from the anesthesia. But since your cat is much younger, in the prime of life, I would think the risks would be much less.
post #9 of 25
By the way, for future reference, Friskies Dental Diet is an excellent food for cats' dental health. I mix it in with Murray's "regular" food, and my vet says it is doing a good job of keeping Murray's teeth healthy.
post #10 of 25
My Bathsheba who lived until she was almost 20 was anesthetized for procedures when she was as old as 18 with no problems at all. I noticed over the years that anesthesia has been greatly improved. In fact, when she was 13, she had a (fortunately benign) tumor on her paw, and the vet told me that she was using a type of anesthesia that was used for human babies.

She had her teeth cleaned when she was five, and after that I always tried to give her the tarter-control treats (my current boy loves Greenies). She didn't have any other dental problems until she was about 16, when the vet had to remove a tooth.

I'd really advise you to go ahead with the cleaning because I think it helps the cat's quality of life in the long run. My recently adopted boy is about 5, and I'll be having his teeth cleaned this fall (the vet's suggestion) after he's fully settled in this new home.
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by purrrplej View Post
By the way, for future reference, Friskies Dental Diet is an excellent food for cats' dental health. I mix it in with Murray's "regular" food, and my vet says it is doing a good job of keeping Murray's teeth healthy.
I've been sprinkling some Friskies Dental Diet on Nabu's wet food since his dental. He had a very bad reaction to the anesthesia and we're trying to make sure we don't have to put him under again any time soon. He's had dentals before, but never had the reaction he did last time. Nabu is prone to getting bad tartar/plaque buildup, so regular dentals have been part of his health care.

If your kitty needs a cleaning, I would do it. But make sure to do the pre-surgical bloodwork. That will tell them if there are any underlying health issues before they use any anesthesia. If your kitty needs extractions, not taking them out will affect his health.
post #12 of 25
As the others have said, anaesthesia can affect everyone differently and it's no different with cats. Bijou has had no problems thank goodness, but Mika is another matter. When she was spayed, we almost lost her so the vet told us that if she ever has to have anaesthesia again, we must inform the vet that she comes out of it very, very fast and they need to be aware of that.

I had a friend who lost her little Siamese girl when she was being spayed as she had an allergic reaction to the anaesthesia. That was many years ago so they were more than likely using the older type.

Anytime we or our pets go under anaesthesia it's a risk. We have become so blase about anaesthesia but it's always a risk that we need to take seriously. However, the risk shouldn't prevent us from having it done if necessary.
post #13 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for all your responses! My vet did say he was going to do blood work right before the procedure and also said he wanted to start him on antibiotics before (clindamycin) and after. The anesthesia he said he usually uses is either propofol or isoflurane. All this stuff seems to check out and be good from what all of you have said and a few others. Not sure if he is going to use an IV during and monitor his blood pressure I wish I would have asked. I feel stupid calling and asking the secretary's because I feel like they think I'm annoying with all my questions. I gotta bring a pad and pen next time when I go in I always wind up forgetting something in between all the other questions I ask. Anyone that had to take their cats for cleaning what type of food were you feeding? Also did the vet tell you before hand that they would probably have to extract some teeth? Did you get x-rays? I keep hearing different things about dry causes it or wet causes it. I fed dry for 2 years straight then wet for about a year and now I have been feeding raw and wet no more dry after he got crystals so I'm wondering if this could be why. But then I have a friend who only feeds his cat dry and he is about 7 now and only has one tooth left so who knows. Thanks again for all your responses!
post #14 of 25
Good for you for bringing all this up with the Vet! None of us should be reluctant to do this - personally, I think that a competent, caring Vet will appreciate the fact that you have educated yourself and that you're being proactive. Think of it this way, I bet he would like to see many of his other clients taking more of an interest in their pets! The fact that he was receptive to your interest and concern should give you confidence that you do have a good Vet.

Yes, go back about the IV and the BP monitoring - if it were me, I would just ask that both simply be done.

You mentioned propofol or isoflurane. The first is the injected "inducer", the second, the gas anasthesia.

The pen and paper...I use them all the time!
post #15 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny's Daddy View Post
I keep hearing different things about dry causes it or wet causes it. I fed dry for 2 years straight then wet for about a year and now I have been feeding raw and wet no more dry after he got crystals so I'm wondering if this could be why. But then I have a friend who only feeds his cat dry and he is about 7 now and only has one tooth left so who knows. Thanks again for all your responses!
I think raw or wet food is a thousand times better for cat's teeth then dry! Think of when you eat something dry like a cracker and how it sticks in your teeth and mouth. This causes decay.

Now think of when you eat meat or something wet like an orange- those types of foods don't stick to your teeth like a cracker would.
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny's Daddy View Post
Not sure if he is going to use an IV during and monitor his blood pressure I wish I would have asked.
I would check back. It's usually optional. And I always opt for it, especially with Nabu's history of reaction.
post #17 of 25
I work at a veterinary hospital, and dental cleaning/extractions are very common there. We do about 10-14 a week. I've observed and assisted in many, though I haven't quite done one myself. It's a fairly simple procedure. The cat is gassed down with Isoflourine or Sevoflourine. They aren't given any injectible sedatives, at least not where I work. Sometimes they use propoflo for dogs, but never for cats, again, at least where I work. Then, they use a sonic cleaner that propels water and breaks up the tartar. Then, if a tooth is decayed or has severe problems, they extract the tooth. They don't need x-rays because the doctor can usually examine the teeth and see if they are severe enough to have extractions. IV fluids are not needed, because the entire procedure takes approximately 15-20 minutes. The heart rate is usually monitored to ensure that all is going well, and any dental tech who's doing it should be trained in how to monitor heart rate and respiration visually and manually. Hope this helps!
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chatterbox View Post
I work at a veterinary hospital, and dental cleaning/extractions are very common there. We do about 10-14 a week. I've observed and assisted in many, though I haven't quite done one myself. It's a fairly simple procedure. The cat is gassed down with Isoflourine or Sevoflourine. They aren't given any injectible sedatives, at least not where I work. Sometimes they use propoflo for dogs, but never for cats, again, at least where I work. Then, they use a sonic cleaner that propels water and breaks up the tartar. Then, if a tooth is decayed or has severe problems, they extract the tooth. They don't need x-rays because the doctor can usually examine the teeth and see if they are severe enough to have extractions. IV fluids are not needed, because the entire procedure takes approximately 15-20 minutes. The heart rate is usually monitored to ensure that all is going well, and any dental tech who's doing it should be trained in how to monitor heart rate and respiration visually and manually. Hope this helps!
Have there ever been any complications? Like animal's dying on the table and what not? If there aren't any IV fluids hooked up to them what do they do if there blood pressure starts to fall to much? Wake them back up maybe? Thanks for the info!
post #19 of 25
My Odo, who has had several dental cleanings and extractions, eats both canned and dry. For a while he ate canned only. I think that genetics play a huge part in whether a cat is prone to dental disease, just like it does in people. For Odo, he needs a dental about every 6 to 12 months. I am not very good at brushing his teeth, unfortunately, as he fights me on it. My younger kitty, Zek, gets his teeth brushed a few times per week since he loves the toothpaste and will come to me for it. Both boys receive the same diet. So far, Zek hasn't needed a dental. He's only about 2.5 or 3 years old, while Odo is closer to 15 years. My now passed over kitty, Willow, was 9 when she died, and her teeth were always perfect. She only at dry (she refused canned food or only ate a few bites) but I think her teeth would have been fine no matter what she ate. My boyfriend's cat eats dry almost exclusively and his teeth are awful.

Canned food has other health benefits, so I tend to feed canned as much as possible (the boys get two servings, sharing one can per day). They only get dry because of my long hours. Genetics is a far bigger factor in dental health than food--my mother eats better and does more to take care of her teeth than my father does, but she has had far more dental problems.

With Odo, my vet did warn me about need extractions. The first time, no x-rays were done (they didn't have the capability at that time). The second time, they did do x-rays and they found tooth fragments from the previous extraction in addition to issues with a couple of his remaining teeth. Odo has had 4 extractions total so far--including two broken teeth--but last time he didn't need any. X-rays are very helpful in ensuring that all of the tooth was removed. Cat tooth roots are very delicate and will often splinter or break off below the gum line.
post #20 of 25
Hi,

I have had 3 of my cats undergo dental cleanings. A couple of teeth had to come out since they were abcessed. I never heard of a cat dying from tooth extraction, but I have heard of them dying from infected teeth.

After the cleanings, my cats ate much better. One cat is prone to cavities, so he'll have to get it done again...but it is saving his teeth.

Maybe you could discuss your fear of having the cat die afterwards with your vet?

Dental cleanings can prevent tooth loss later, too.
post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny's Daddy View Post
Have there ever been any complications? Like animal's dying on the table and what not? If there aren't any IV fluids hooked up to them what do they do if there blood pressure starts to fall to much? Wake them back up maybe? Thanks for the info!
When they're just gassed down, you take off the gas, and they pretty much come right out of it within a minute. Normally when you notice the pressure changing you change the level of anesthesia that they get before it gets bad. Personally, I have never seen a pet die from a dental cleaning. To help alleviate your fears, I'd definitely recommend some pre-anesthetic bloodwork, to make sure all your baby's organs are functioning properly and able to handle the anesthesia.
post #22 of 25
My oldest girl, Chynna just turned 16 years old. In April she had her first dental as a result of a badly infected tooth.

Because of her advanced age she had to go in the day before for 24 hours of hydration.

Part of the protocol required me to give her antibiotics for 5 days before the procedure and 4 days after.

The only blood work she needed at that time was another kidney function test. I had a complete blood workup done on her about 5 weeks earlier. It's always advisable to have blood tests before surgery.

During the procedure they did dental scaling to remove plaque buildup, and they removed the tooth which was obviously infected and did xrays for each tooth they felt may be an issue, and only pulled it if they needed to.

At the end of the procedure she was left with all of her front little teeth, 1 front incisor, and a few small ones at the back. Other than that she's essentially toothless.

Because of her age and the number of teeth she had pulled, they kept her over night for more hydration, pain control and antibiotics.

I have a hard time giving her pills, so I asked for injectable pain and antibiotic medications, which they were more than willing to supply to me and even showed me how to give the injections to her. So I have her 2 injections twice a day for 4 days.

A month later I took her back for a follow up. The stitches were the dissolving kind. The vet said that her gums were looking nice and healthy.

I can't say the procedure was cheap, because it sure wasn't. The total vet bill was around $1,200.00 but they capped it at $700 due to "special circumstances"

A routine cleaning is not as involved as what Chynna had to undergo, but I had never had her teeth cleaned before and they were awful

If your kitty is only 5 or 6, chances are most of his teeth are probably still good.

But I would insist on xrays to avoid having teeth pulled out that don't need to be pulled. They probably don't do xrays in order to keep the costs down, but IMHO I learned that the xrays are important. Without them Chynna would be completely toothless because according to the vet due to the way a cat's tooth is constructed, you often can't tell from the outside if there is a problem. And if there is one bad tooth, there are most often more.

Good luck to you and your baby for his dental cleaning
post #23 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natalie_ca View Post
My oldest girl, Chynna just turned 16 years old. In April she had her first dental as a result of a badly infected tooth.

Because of her advanced age she had to go in the day before for 24 hours of hydration.

Part of the protocol required me to give her antibiotics for 5 days before the procedure and 4 days after.

The only blood work she needed at that time was another kidney function test. I had a complete blood workup done on her about 5 weeks earlier. It's always advisable to have blood tests before surgery.

During the procedure they did dental scaling to remove plaque buildup, and they removed the tooth which was obviously infected and did xrays for each tooth they felt may be an issue, and only pulled it if they needed to.

At the end of the procedure she was left with all of her front little teeth, 1 front incisor, and a few small ones at the back. Other than that she's essentially toothless.

Because of her age and the number of teeth she had pulled, they kept her over night for more hydration, pain control and antibiotics.

I have a hard time giving her pills, so I asked for injectable pain and antibiotic medications, which they were more than willing to supply to me and even showed me how to give the injections to her. So I have her 2 injections twice a day for 4 days.

A month later I took her back for a follow up. The stitches were the dissolving kind. The vet said that her gums were looking nice and healthy.

I can't say the procedure was cheap, because it sure wasn't. The total vet bill was around $1,200.00 but they capped it at $700 due to "special circumstances"

A routine cleaning is not as involved as what Chynna had to undergo, but I had never had her teeth cleaned before and they were awful

If your kitty is only 5 or 6, chances are most of his teeth are probably still good.

But I would insist on xrays to avoid having teeth pulled out that don't need to be pulled. They probably don't do xrays in order to keep the costs down, but IMHO I learned that the xrays are important. Without them Chynna would be completely toothless because according to the vet due to the way a cat's tooth is constructed, you often can't tell from the outside if there is a problem. And if there is one bad tooth, there are most often more.

Good luck to you and your baby for his dental cleaning
I'm not sure if he has the capability to do x-rays. I know he does regular x-rays if they need but I think that to do the teeth they might need a special x-ray machine. When I asked him about it he said something along basically that he didn't need to do xrays and that it could get expensive. But I don't know if that meant he can't do it because he doesn't have the machine or he was telling me that I didn't have to do it to save money. If thats the case I rather just do it if he can how much more can it be. I really don't care how much it is as long as I can rest assured and I'm not rich by any means.
post #24 of 25
Sunny's Daddy-
It seems to me that some of the information posted is very telling about the differences in Veterinary care from one clinic to another. For me, it re-affirms the need for us to become as knowledgeable as possible beforehand - from reliable, professional sources - and then to be able to have full and open discussions with our Vets about what needs to be done and how it will be carried out.

I do hope you will insist on those other procedures.

There is a set of videos made by a Veterinarian which show very clearly how these procedures should be carried. I'm sure you'll notice the use of IV fluids and the port - and the very special attention paid to monitoring the cat - even though the time spent under anasthesia may be short.

You'll find them here.

From this thread, I've also learned the importance of asking beforehand who exactly will be performing those procedures.

Here are some other links which also confirm the need for "proper procedures".
Veterinary Partner
The Australian Veterinary Dental Society (see Procedures and Perioperative care at the bottom)
post #25 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAISE View Post
Sunny's Daddy-
It seems to me that some of the information posted is very telling about the differences in Veterinary care from one clinic to another. For me, it re-affirms the need for us to become as knowledgeable as possible beforehand - from reliable, professional sources - and then to be able to have full and open discussions with our Vets about what needs to be done and how it will be carried out.

I do hope you will insist on those other procedures.

There is a set of videos made by a Veterinarian which show very clearly how these procedures should be carried. I'm sure you'll notice the use of IV fluids and the port - and the very special attention paid to monitoring the cat - even though the time spent under anasthesia may be short.

You'll find them here.

From this thread, I've also learned the importance of asking beforehand who exactly will be performing those procedures.

Here are some other links which also confirm the need for "proper procedures".
Veterinary Partner
The Australian Veterinary Dental Society (see Procedures and Perioperative care at the bottom)
Wow these are some great links you've found here! Thanks there is so much info on all types of dental hygiene and detection of problems and procedures! I wish this Dr. McDonald from the expertvillage.com link was around here I would definitely go to him, he definitely seems like he knows his stuff. Your definitely right about asking who will be performing. I already asked and my vet said he does the entire procedure himself. Unfortunately when it comes to animals everything is a lot more lax then if it were a procedure being performed on a human. I would feel more comfortable if I were going in for a procedure then Sunny. I know if I go I have an anesthesiologist monitoring me, at some vet's office it might be some stupid kid vet tech who really doesn't know a thing so you really have to watch. Thanks again for the links!!!
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