DENTAL PROCEDURES AND PRICING
We perform a lot of dentals at Tequesta Vet Clinic and pride ourselves on our dental care. These days, most of Dr. Sutton’s time at the clinic is devoted to dentals and surgery. The other doctors at Tequesta Veterinary Clinic see most of our outpatients since Dr. Sutton is doing surgery and dentals most of her days. We get many new clients specifically because our dentals are affordably priced. She has been known for quality dental skills for years, but during the pandemic Dr Sutton took a year long “master course” in veterinary dentistry to further hone her aptitude. She has achieved the status of VDP, Veterinary Dental Practioner.
Dr. Sutton is not a board-certified dentist but has a real knack (and speed) at extractions. Her nursing staff obtains full mouth digital X-Rays of the pet’s mouth rapidly at the beginning of anesthesia. This typically takes about 5 to 10 minutes for small dogs and cats and about 10 to 15 minutes for big dogs. Dr. Sutton has top-end dental and anesthesia equipment and highly skilled nurses who not only perform the dentals but also monitor the anesthesia. She likes to joke that when we have your pet under anesthesia for a dental it is like a NASCAR pit crew working on your pet. Please also read about anesthesia and safety nets under a separate tab on our website. A dental is not just a dental. It is anesthesia as well, and we do our best to ensure the safety of your beloved pet!
If your pet has heart disease we will discuss special protocols and have Dr Bill or one of the local cardiologists do an echo prior to scheduling a dental.
How we charge out dental procedures at Tequesta Veterinary Clinic:
All dental packages receive pre-medication, an iv catheter, iv fluids, general anesthesia, anesthetic monitoring, nerve blocks, dental cleaning and polishing of the teeth, the bair hugger, and full mouth dental X-Rays as part of the dental package. We monitor blood pressure, end tidal carbon dioxide output, ECG, pulse oximetry, temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate throughout the procedure. When we anesthetize a pet we utilize all the safety nets in our arsenal. We expect pre-anesthetic blood work within a few months of anesthesia and offer pre-anesthetic global FAST exams the morning of the procedure to help minimize any anesthetic risk. As soon as we identify that there will be extractions, we incorporate courtesy dental nerve blocks for free to keep the pet on the lowest plane of anesthesia possible for your pet’s safety. Truly, when we have your pet under anesthesia for a dental, we try to keep your pet on a very light plane of anesthesia such that they typically have a palpebral response and a gag reflex. Anesthesia is an art and our job is to keep your pet as safe as possible. Nerve blocks are an important component to anesthesia for dentals, and we do them at no charge to clients.
DENTAL XRAYS ARE FREE WITH DENTALS.
If you had a “senior care package” within 3 months prior to a dental we will give you $100 off the dental package.
If there are no extractions we do all the above for $400! We encourage early intervention and reward clients for this by charging a modest $400 for all the bells and whistles mentioned above. We call this a “Level 1” dental. This is essentially the same price as we would charge a pet for iv fluids and anesthesia and anesthesia monitoring. (Know that this includes an injection of Cerenia with anesthesia.)
If there are extractions there will typically be a $17.50 fee for each hydromorphone (or buprenorphine) injection and $17.50 for an injection of an anti-inflammatory drug. Pain management is not optional. We will give narcotics and anti-inflammatory meds if a pet has extractions. Typically we give one anti-inflammatory med and one narcotic to each pet that gets extractions. Again, nerve blocks, our therapeutic laser for analgesia are FREE.
If the dental requires extractions, clearly there is added anesthesia time, sterile surgical instruments, suture, doctor time, nursing time, and nerve blocks. We don’t charge “per tooth” extraction time as sometimes teeth just fall out whereas other times it may be quite tricky. Dr. Sutton is a pretty efficient surgeon and tries very hard to keep the bill low.
We charge $100 for the initial 15 minutes of surgical time over the routine “level 1” dental. This $100 per 15 minutes pays for the nursing staff, suture and Dr. Sutton’s surgical time.
OF COURSE, IF YOUR PET HAS EXTRACTIONS IT WILL GO HOME ON PAIN MEDICATIONS POST OPERATIVELY AND POSSIBLY ANTIBIOTIC AS WELL.
We try not to keep pets under anesthesia longer than 120 minutes. Dr Sutton knows a lot of veterinarians who will leave a pet under anesthesia for a dental for 3 or 4 hours at a time, but she disagrees with this mentality. And, she has been in practice since 1993 and has a speed and confidence with dental extractions. If a pet is doing well under anesthesia we may extend the dental beyond her usual 120 minute cut off, but we take into account how the pet is doing including vital signs, blood pressure, end tidal CO2 and temperature. IF there is more pathology than we can do under one anesthetic procedure, we may wake the pet up and reschedule a 2nd dental procedure.
IF A PET HAS GINGIVAL POCKETS: We commonly use Clindamycin get (called Clindoral) or a doxycycline gel (called Doxirobe) to help the pockets heal and allow the gingival to heal back to the tooth. When we do this, we charge you for the product used and it does not count toward the surgical time. Clindoral is $40 per syringe. Doxirobe is $60 per syringe.
IF THE PET HAS AREAS OF VERTICAL BONE LOSS: We might use Consil which is a putty of glass beads that acts as a matrix for osteoclasts to form more bone. Again, we charge you for the product itself and a Doxirobe which acts as a membrane to keep the Consil in the area. This is done as an effort to save teeth! Consil typically will be $20 per site.
Occasionally there will be enamel defects from trauma. If there is exposed dentin but the tooth is otherwise normal, we can smooth the area and do bonded sealants to protect the tooth from bacterial invasion. If the pulp chamber is involved we can’t do a sealant. We charge $60 for the first tooth then about $20 per additional tooth for bonded sealant. (If numerous teeth are involved we discount bonded sealant on additional teeth as the nurse has already set up the equipment.)
The dental packages do NOT include blood work prior to the procedure nor antibiotic injections nor any anti-inflammatory and narcotic injections nor medications that go home after the dental. (We include any nerve blocks and our class 4 therapeutic laser to decrease pain intra-op and post-op as a courtesy.) Any medication prescriptions that go home with pets after a dental or procedure are not included in the procedural packages. A 5 pound chihuahua needs far less milligrams of whatever medication than a 100 pound dane.
We are unable to take dental xrays without general anesthesia as the sensor that goes in the mouth for our digital xray unit costs $8,900 and if a pet chomps on it, we must replace it.
Our nursing staff is amazing at taking dental xrays! It typically takes them about 5 to 10 minutes for a small pet up to 15 minutes for a large pet at the onset of anesthesia to take full mouth dental radiographs.
Pre-operatively we sent Protonix and melatonin for the night prior to anesthesia and gabapentin for the morning of anesthesia. These meds are at no charge. Pet parents give these by mouth at home. Anesthesia is an art and we strive to maintain the safest protocols.
All pets undergoing anesthesia receive an injection of Cerenia. Since Dr. Sutton started this in 2016, peri-operative inappetence/nausea is now a rarity at TVC. Cerenia also has analgesic properties and decreases the amount of gas anesthetic needed. We try to keep our pets on the lightest plane of anesthesia possible to maintain body temperature and blood pressure.
You can clearly see that early intervention keeps dental care affordable. We send a courtesy “dental kit” home with patients to help owners keep the teeth healthy. We strive to make dental care affordable.
Dr. Sutton or one of the staff veterinarians will of course help you assess the situation on your consultation prior to the day of the dental.
Dr. Sutton does NOT perform root canals. Occasionally a removing a tooth could fracture a jaw. If a tooth is particularly tricky such that she feels it should be addressed by a dental specialist, she typically refers to Dr. Mike Wiegand in Stuart.