Blueberry, a mixed breed, shows off his healthy pink gums and white teeth. Photo by Joan Deutsch

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Blueberry, a mixed breed, shows off his healthy pink gums and white teeth.
Photo by Joan Deutsch

Dr. Kevin Wilson, a veterinarian at Pilchuck Veterinary Hospital in Snohomish, is answering this week’s question

Question: A Times reporter gave us her vet office’s estimate to clean her dog’s teeth. It appears to be a standard itemized estimate that ranges from $500 to $900. The cleaning itself is $99. Add $33 for X-rays, $11 for polishing and $21 for sealing. There are separate charges for pre-anesthesia, induction, monitoring and the general anesthesia itself. This adds $120 to the estimate. What’s left? Drugs before, during and after the procedure, hospitalization fees, etc. The bill could jump by hundreds, even thousands, if you add extractions, fillings or even root canals. Is all of this really necessary?

Answer: The least expensive method of maintaining your pet’s oral health is prevention. About 80 percent of dogs and cats over 2 years of age have significant oral-health issues. Brushing, dental chews and toys, dental diets and some supplements can help keep your pet’s mouth healthier longer.