How much does a cat’s dental cleaning cost?

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How much does a cat’s dental cleaning cost?  - Cat yawning in grass, showing its teeth.

Dental cleanings are an important part of preventative care for your pet, as it both prevents and treats dental disease. The cost of your cat’s dental cleaning can change depending on a number of factors, and dental procedures due to poor oral health can be expensive. Read on if you are a cat owner and have ever wondered:

  • Why does my cat need dental cleaning?
  • What is the average cost of cat teeth cleaning?
  • Why does my cat need anesthesia for dental procedures?
  • How can I lower the cost of my cat’s dental care?

Simple teeth cleaning on a regular basis is better for your cat and more affordable than delaying treatment until they develop dental disease or gum issues such as periodontal disease. Dental disease can lead to pain, widespread health issues, tooth loss, appetite loss, and other health complications.

Why are professional teeth cleanings important for my cat?

Professional teeth cleaning is performed by a team of veterinary professionals under anesthesia in order to remove plaque and tartar, which cause dental disease, from a cat’s teeth and beneath the gum line. In addition, dental exams under anesthesia allow a veterinarian to closely examine the teeth for injury and disease. This helps vets catch dental issues such as periodontal disease and tooth resorption so they can be treated.

How much should I expect to pay for my cat’s dental procedures?

Dental cleanings and other procedures can dramatically range in cost based on factors such as:

  • The type and length of the procedure
  • How extensive a cat’s dental disease is
  • Where the vet practices
  • How much ancillary care the cat requires during the procedure

A root canal from a board-certified veterinary dentist costs more than a routine cleaning, so long as your pet does not have severe dental disease. Vet clinics in larger cities may charge more due to a higher cost of living than other geographic locations. Additional costs can occur if a cat has developed severe dental disease and requires multiple tooth extractions.

Dental procedures range in price from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars based on these factors, and needed procedures differ from cat to cat. To get a more accurate estimate, it’s best for pet owners to talk to a veterinarian to learn more about their cat’s dental health and whether they need more extensive treatments. Some veterinarians include the cost of multiple medical procedures in their dental estimate, such as:

  • Pre-anesthetic exam and blood work
  • Pre-anesthetic chest X-rays/EKGs for high-risk cats
  • IV placement for fluids and medication
  • Anesthesia and monitoring
  • Tooth extractions or other dental procedures
  • Complete scaling and polishing of the teeth
  • Full oral examination
  • Dental X-rays
  • Monitoring after the procedure
  • Medication to go home if needed

Dental care can be very involved, which is why treating your cat’s dental problems and other health conditions can become expensive. Talk with a veterinarian to see what is included in their dental pricing and what your cat may need.

Is anesthesia necessary for my cat during a dental treatment?

Anesthesia is necessary for a safe and effective dental treatment. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) strongly recommends against anesthesia-free cleanings and considers them unsafe and ineffective. Anesthetic dental X-rays and exams allow a veterinarian to closely examine the teeth to look for signs of disease or injury and safely clean them with sharp dental instruments. The use of anesthesia also lowers stress and prevents a cat from feeling cleanings, extractions, and other procedures that may be painful.

Quote from Jo Myers, suggesting that regular dental cleaning is cheaper than emergency cleaning.

Is anesthesia safe for my cat?

While anesthesia has some risks, it is used to make dental procedures safer overall. The risks are minimized with pre-anesthetic physical exams and testing to ensure your cat remains healthy throughout the procedure. Veterinary professionals monitor each cat closely before, during, and after an anesthetic procedure and provide the support your cat needs, such as IV fluids and warming blankets, to stay safe and comfortable.

Can at-home dental care lower my cat’s dental cleaning costs?

Regular brushing at home can help prevent plaque and tartar buildup on the teeth, which can in turn prevent gum disease. While daily brushing cannot remove all plaque, it lowers the risk of gum disease and the overall cost of dental cleanings. Products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC), such as dental treats and food, can help reduce plaque buildup as well. “Getting more frequent, brief dental cleanings usually costs less than waiting until a cat has significant dental disease,” explains Dr. Jo Myers, a Vetster veterinarian. Pet dental insurance can also help manage the cost of dental treatments. Unfortunately, not all forms of dental disease can be prevented with at-home care.

Why is dental health important for cats?

Poor dental health can affect other parts of a cat’s body and their overall well-being. Poor oral health can cause:

Regular checkups, professional cleanings, and at-home care decrease the risks of periodontal disease and other dental issues. Book an appointment to talk to an online vet and learn more about how dental cleanings can benefit your cat.

FAQ - How much does a cat’s dental cleaning cost?

How much are cat dental cleanings?

The cost of cat teeth cleaning can vary widely in price based on the condition of a cat’s teeth and gums, what type of procedure they need, how long the procedure will take, and where a veterinarian is located. Dental procedures can cost from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars based on these factors. In general, routine cleanings are cheaper than other procedures, especially if there is no sign of dental disease. Many veterinarians encourage an in-person examination prior to a dental procedure in order to provide a more accurate estimate.

Why is cat teeth cleaning so expensive?

Professional cat teeth cleaning often involves full scaling and polishing, X-rays, IV placement with fluids and medications, close monitoring from veterinary professionals, and other medical procedures which can only be done under anesthesia by veterinarians. These services drive up cat teeth cleaning costs, especially if the cleaning also requires treatments such as tooth extractions. While there are less costly, anesthesia-free alternatives offered by non-veterinarians, teeth cleaning done without anesthesia is ineffective and can be harmful to your pet.

How often should cats get dental cleanings?

The general recommendation for cat dental cleanings is once a year. However, some cats need more frequent cleanings depending on their overall oral health, age, and if they tolerate regular tooth brushing at home. Talk to a vet to learn more about your cat’s dental needs.

At what age should I get my cat’s teeth cleaned?

An estimated 50% to 90% of cats over the age of four experience dental disease or tooth decay. It’s best to begin routine dental cleanings with adult cats while they are still young. Every cat’s needs are different, so talk to a veterinarian about your individual cat’s dental needs.