Thanks for your question.
Did you know that dental disease is the most common pet ailment? And, that many many pets suffer from chronic long standing dental disease without showing any clinical signs, or at least any signs that their guardians ever notice?
In every single physical exam that I do I take great care and time to examine the mouth of every one of my patients. I also show my clients any problems or concerns that I see. I would estimate that almost every cat that I see over 6 years old is in need of a dental. And, almost every cat over 10 years old is in need of a dental cleaning and at least one tooth extraction.
Every patient and every dental is different. At the clinic I work at we try very hard to give an estimate for any and every service that we provide. But, by far the hardest estimate that I give is the one for a dental. You see until I get my patient under anesthesia, take a full set of digital dental x-rays, clean all of the calculi (that yellow hard stuff that sticks to the teeth, especially the molars), and probe the teeth (we look for pockets along the teeth roots) I cannot usually tell any client exactly what the final dental will require.
I did a dental just yesterday on a very healthy middle aged dog that I thought had just a little calculi and needed a cleaning and polishing, but when I examined the entire mouth when he was under anesthesia I found three very bad teeth with a terrible amount of bone loss around them. One of them was so bad (the last molar, which is found waaay in the back of the mouth) was mobile. It was so loose that I could almost remove it with my fingers. It also caused the tooth next to it to need to be extracted. That presumed 20 minute dental took my an hour and a half. Thankfully the dog did very well under anesthesia, and his dad has promised to start brushing daily so that hopefully he will never need another dental cleaning, or any additional extractions.
His bill at my clinic was almost $400. I would say this is about average for our clinic. But I have seen some dental’s take over three hours and cost almost $1,000.
The average cat dental is about $200-$300, but it is always a rough estimate until we start cleaning. But, please understand that as dentals go cats are some of the hardest and scariest to do. Did you know that it is possible to fracture the mandible of a cat when trying to remove a lower tooth? We have to be very careful and patient..or we can make a simple dental a much more difficult procedure.
To add further confusion, in most cases we suggest pre-op blood work, sometimes pre-op antibiotics and always an examination. So even before the dental you might spend a few hundred dollars.
Whenever someone calls me to ask for an estimate I encourage them to not try to price shop this service. It is almost impossible to compare apples to apples. Not every clinic does a dental the same way. For instance, at our clinic almost every patient receives i.v. fluids, pain medications, nerve blocks in the mouth to reduce pain, and i.v. antibiotics. We also routinely check digital dental x-rays for any hidden tooth problems that we cannot see on our oral cavity examination.
So my advice is; It is impossible to give a “good estimate” for this service. I would urge you to not “price shop it” but rather to use a veterinarian with an interest and strength in dental care and most importantly someone that you trust. Your pets dental is one of the very few opportunities we have to do a thorough oral exam, resolve any current or near future problems, and also keep your pet safe, and healthy. If you are uncomfortable with the estimate your veterinarian has given you ask them to explain it to you.
It is my opinion that every pet should have a very thorough pre-op exam, blood work, etc, and a safe, professional dental procedure. For me this includes, i.v. fluids, pain medications, antibiotics (most cases), appropriate orthodontic care, pre-peri- and post-op monitoring, dental x-rays, and a trained skilled veterinarian to perform the procedure using a dental machine that can clean, polish, and has a high speed drill to remove any teeth that need orthodontic extraction.
I am sorry that I couldn’t give you a quick dollar reference number, but I hope this helps.
If you need any other assistance or if your cat needs a dental and would like to talk to us about this service, you can find me at the clinic, the address and information is listed below.
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