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Need your advice on dental work

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Sweetie is a 3yr. old spayed tabby. Just recently I've noticed her bad breath. Last year at her checkup the vet said she was building tartar. She's due for a checkup but I need to find a new vet. Her old vet was up for sanction from the State due to some mistreatments to her animal patients. I don't really know the outcome, I just know our local shelter stopped using her as their vet. I do have another vet in mind. So what I need to know from you is the approximate cost of dental work. I know it varies depending on what is done. But some ballpark figures would be nice. Also what about the dangers of anesthesia? What can I expect after the surgery? I hate to put her through this but I know for her health I need to. I would appreciate your feedback.
post #2 of 13
Prices vary by region and by vet...

My Kandie RB had several dentals and they varied from 200-500 $ depending on vet and what bloodwork and extras were needed... this was NO extractions needed

what is she eating ?? that is awfully young to need dental work ... ie the youngest animal here was 10
post #3 of 13
It varies quite dramatically between different types of vets and different regions. I'm in Oregon, and I've paid between $200 (a few of years ago at a low cost vet) to $450 for dentals for my cats. The cheaper vet used older anesthetics (ketamine and valium, I think) which are not as safe as some of the newer, more expensive ones. When the vet's office upgraded and became more expensive, they started using the better anesthetics (isoflurane or sevoflurane and propofol). Around that time they were also bought out, and their prices went up. In both cases, a couple of extractions were needed in addition to the cleanings.

I would call around and ask for an estimate range for a cleaning as well as how much extractions would be if needed. Some vets will take x-rays--if extractions are needed, I highly recommend that you have dental x-rays taken afterwards to ensure that the entire root of the tooth is removed. I would ask whether they have a dental x-ray machine, and what kind of anesthetics they use. Most vets will recommend pre-anesthetic bloodwork that checks kidney, liver and CBC (complete blood count) values before the procedure. This can help catch an underlying problem, if one exists, before putting your kitty through surgery.
post #4 of 13
The estimate I got for Bijou in July was $377. 3 weeks later he got the abscess and had to be anaesthesized so I asked them to do that at the same time so I didn't have to pay for 2 anaesthetics.

His breath was amazingly good after the dental, so much so that even my hubby commented on it.
post #5 of 13
I would be very surprised if any 3 year old cat of mine would need a dental cleaning - although it would not be an impossibility, just improbable.

If I were in your position, I would start by finding a competent Veterinarian. I would first look for a cat-only clinic nearby. This website may help you. It is a list of Veterinarians who come recommended by "owners" of chronically ill cats. It also has some other Vet-finding resources.

Then, when you have her annual health checkup, you can ask about any need for dental cleaning. It may be that beginning and continuing regular cleaning at home would take care of current tartar buildup. More about that part below...

I would NOT advise you to base any decision on price alone. Prices will vary from clinic to clinic - but, so will the quality of the services provided. Vets are not "created equal" and, especially in this aspect of health care, you will most likely get what you pay for if you shop by price alone. (On a recent thread here at TCS, a poster identifying themselves as a vet technician, stated that several, now standard operating procedures in feline dental work, are not carried out at their clinic!)

I'd sugget that you first learn about what is prudent and advisable in any dental procedure (e.g. you already have a sense of concern re anasthesia). There is an excellent series of videos on this site with a Veterinary specialist explaining each part of the procedure. Check out numbers 1,6, 11, 13 in particular.

You can also read that same checklist at this link. If it turns out that a cleaning is required, I'd suggest you discuss each of those points with the Vet and ensure that each is carried out.


Now, about the do-it-at-home part....Cornell University College of Veterinary Medecine provides this set of videos showing how to get into doing it. "Getting into" are the operative words here...it will mean that, very slowly, you introduce the process to your cat. Be prepared for the use of lots of patience as you de-sensitize Sweetie to any concerns and teach her that this will be a pleasant experience. If you're successful with this, she'll come running when she sees the toothbrush!
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Sweetie prefers west food, mostly Fancy Feast. She also will eat some dry, mainly Friskies which my other cat loves. I also feed Purina Naturals. From what everyone said re: price, cat's dental work is as expensive as human's. I will take everyone's advice and check around and get a vet who has a lot of experience.
post #7 of 13
I have no advice with price, as I am in a different country, just adding that I have a friend who works in rescue who is seeing more cats under the age of 3 needing dentals, I think she has had 1 year olds needing them
post #8 of 13
Apparently, my understanding is that Siamese are predisposed to tartar build-up. My vet recommended I use one of the human toothbrushes (the one with the little circular tuft on the end) to clean Bijou's teeth now that he's had the professional dental cleaning. My female Siamese was 14 when she passed and she ate less than quality food (I didn't know any better then) and she had no issues with her teeth.

I personally think it's more the luck of the draw and there are things you can do to help prevent tartar build-up.
post #9 of 13
Unfortunately, some cats can be predisposed to just have bad teeth- just like humans can be. Everyone is different. One of my kitties just had a dental - with one extraction. He also had a regular checkup with all his shots. (I had dropped him off for the day and got everything done so I didnt have to stress him out too much by going back and forth). The total was around $300 and change. But I think my vet gave me a bit of a break because I spent a ton of $$$ recently on another kitty who had to have surgery. I think originally I was quoted $300 just for the cleaning. I think a good range would be beween $300-$500.
post #10 of 13
deljo-
I know that only a part of your original question concerned price...

Not preaching to the converted, but emphasizing to anyone else contemplating dental work for their cat, in feline dentistry, you may very well get only what you pay for if you base a decision on price alone.

Feline health is much too fragile to scimp on cost by avoiding pre-surgery bloodwork, pre and post-antibiotics, "out-of-date" anesthesia, fluids and critical monitoring during the procedure (don't be taken in by the sales pitch "well, they'll only be under anesthesia for a little while...") and post-op pain control. You may pay a little more...but the alternatives (with luck) can include a chronically ill cat with catastrophic Vet bills.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I would never skimp on medical care for my babies. After all they are our gift from God to take care of. I just wanted ball park figures. I have never tried to brush Sweetie's teeth, but I caught her brushing her head with my toothbrush. After that I never left the cup with toothbrushes out on the sink. I also got new tooth brushes. She was a smart kitty. As far as food I have tried a lot of premium brands for the cats with no success. It didn't matter if it was wet or dry. Some of the stuff is pretty expensive but most of the time it went to the strays that I feed. I would like to get away from Friskies dry, Fancy Feast isn't the best wet but its what Sweetie will eat. I have an appt. in two weeks with a vet I used once before, I'll do an update then.
post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by deljo View Post
I would never skimp on medical care for my babies. After all they are our gift from God to take care of. I just wanted ball park figures. I have never tried to brush Sweetie's teeth, but I caught her brushing her head with my toothbrush. After that I never left the cup with toothbrushes out on the sink. I also got new tooth brushes. She was a smart kitty. As far as food I have tried a lot of premium brands for the cats with no success. It didn't matter if it was wet or dry. Some of the stuff is pretty expensive but most of the time it went to the strays that I feed. I would like to get away from Friskies dry, Fancy Feast isn't the best wet but its what Sweetie will eat. I have an appt. in two weeks with a vet I used once before, I'll do an update then.
You might try adding a little bit of better food to the FF and gradually increase the amount until Sweetie is eating all better quality food.
post #13 of 13
Since you're looking for a new vet, why not let the new one decide whether Sweetie needs to have her teeth cleaned. As you point out, with the anesthesia involved, this is a major procedure, and it's possible that your former vet (if not ethical as you mention) may have simply been trying to drum up business. I mention that because a new vet (I had moved) once told me that my cat needed to have her teeth cleaned. I had it done--by him--and at her regular annual check up only a few months later, he said she needed to have her teeth cleaned! He hadn't even checked her records to notice that she'd just had it done. I left him and went to another vet who said that her teeth were fine (because they'd just been cleaned!).

That said, Sweetie's age may not be that unusual. My former cat had good teeth, but needed to have a good cleaning at age 5. I just adopted another cat who is 5 years old, and my vet said he needs to have his teeth cleaned (this coming Monday).
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