Please note that this post is created to share our personal experience, if you are unable to accept honest and/or straightforward opinions then this blog may not be suitable for you.
We always have the habit to bring Amber for yearly check up together with her vaccination. When Amber was 5 years old, the vet at Light of Life, which is also our regular and only trusted vet at that point of time, mentioned that Amber's teeth had accumulated plague but didn't require immediate attention. We decided to wait another year before sending her for dental scaling, which was just recently. The vet at LOL also mentioned that we could use a round object, for example coin to scrap off a bit of plague from her teeth for the time being, honestly i did not agree with this but kept my opinion to myself.
By the end of 2017 Amber would be 6, i noticed her breath was getting worst with some tartar build up along her gum line, so the first thing I did was to do a check on different vets before coming to a conclusion. I posted for help online, asked among different dog owners and did some research on honest reviews, finally I saw one post by a client of ours mentioning that there is a vet specializing in dental. I was quite surprised to hear that there are vets in Singapore that specialize in specific areas like dental, as you can guess this was no other than Maranatha Vet!
Maranatha Vet is located at 77 Telok Blangah Drive, we stay at Punggol so the journey to this vet is really far and transport would be costly especially if there are any complications. However, I thought that if we are going to do a proper scaling, might as well invest in a good vet that knows about canine dental right? After doing a brief check on Amber's size and age through phone call, the front desk/assistant quoted us $400+ for scaling, blood test and anesthesia. We then did some calculation - Cab fares for 2 round trips (Consultation and Scaling on separate day) would be about $110. We expected to spend about $600 for Amber's scaling. Appointment booking with Maranatha vet was not easy, they are always fully booked and I could only find a weekday slot to visit them.
Not happy to take photo with Mr Toothy
The first impression of the place was good, waiting area was clean with a Dyson fan + purifier, the weighing scale was the typical metal kind but Amber was already used to it, there was also a little bench for waiting. After doing a check on Amber’s weight, Dr Nora (the vet) invited us into a room for the first consultation, once entering I could right away see 2 little dogs walking towards me and sniffing around, I then learned that they were adopted by the clinic. We spoke a bit to help Dr Nora understand more about Amber’s dental state, she learned that Amber did not go for any form of scaling before despite her age. Dr Nora then started to do a physical check on Amber’s teeth by lifting up her lips, at this point of time I was relieved that Amber is trained to have her lips touched as the check was kinda thorough, which meant discomfort! I have to say that the vet was a little bit quirky but very friendly overall. I do notice that due to the stressful job, veterinarians tend to have personalities leaning towards the extreme side, that being said extremely friendly is very much appreciated than any other form of behavior though!
After checking on Amber’s teeth, Dr Nora told us that her teeth looked rather well maintained, however as this was her first scaling, she advised to let Amber go for an X-ray during anesthesia to make sure her teeth is really fine even on the inside. The reason was that there could be hidden teeth stuck under the gums that might not have grown out, which is a common issue for most dogs. Any undeveloped tooth should also be removed to prevent serious complications in future. Dr Nora also mentioned that Amber seemed to be missing 2 molar tooth located at the back, which is also normal but X-ray will let her understand even better if they were really missing or hidden inside her gums. We decided to go ahead with this proposed plan and scheduled Amber for scaling after a month due to our travel plans.
On the day of scaling, Amber was weighed again and after that we had a brief chat with the vet before proceeding with blood test. Blood test is supposed to check if anesthesia is suitable for Amber. Dr Nora did mention that blood test although can help determine if a dog is healthy enough for anesthesia, cannot guarantee if it is allergic to it. But since Amber had already went for anesthesia when she was 6 months old for spaying, we could actually know beforehand that she isn’t allergic to the procedure. We were told to wait about half a day for the whole scaling procedure, which includes blood test, anesthesia, X-ray, scaling and also to let Amber wake up by herself before collecting her back. We decided to wait for Amber’s blood test results before leaving her in their care, within 30 minutes we managed to receive the result and Amber was in great shape!
About an hour after leaving Amber with Dr Nora, we received a call from her saying that X-ray showed 2 missing tooth as she had expected, but there were no hidden tooth stuck in her gums or anything like that, which was great news. However, X-ray seemed to be showing chipped tooth on both of her lower jaw. Weirdly, it’s the exact same tooth on both sides of her lower jaw, she advised to remove both of them and we agreed. We actually decided that the procedure could take longer than expected and was wondering what to do after 2 hours of walking around Vivo city (located near Maranatha Vet), just then we got another call from the clinic saying that Amber was ready for collection!
When we first saw Amber, she was whining and wanted attention even though she looked dizzy. Dr Nora then explained to us about her dental health in detail, she mentioned that Amber’s tooth was fine in general except for two things, first was the chipped tooth. We actually thought it was due us to letting her chew on tough objects, which we were really careful to begin with, but this wasn’t the case. Both tooth are of the exact same position and one of the chipped tooth was beneath the gum line, which meant that it’s unlikely for Amber’s teeth to chip due to chewing, it would’ve broke at the tip instead. As you guys might be curious about how it look like, I requested to take a photo of Amber’s X-ray!
Hole on the bottom right of this picture
Hole on the bottom left of this picture (look at gum area)
Dr Nora mentioned that Amber could’ve been in pain before the 2 teeth were removed, as she tried touching the area when Amber was under anesthesia and she showed reaction! She also mentioned that genetics could have played a part in the chipped tooth. The second worry would be her top incisors, it looked fine from the outside but X-ray showed a bit of darkened area which seemed abnormal, Dr Nora highlighted that it could be infection, but no guarantees as it’s too early to tell. She gave some antibiotics and wanted Amber to come back for another scan after 6-9 months, if it gets worst then the top incisors would have to be removed to prevent spreading to other tooth.
Some thoughts after going in my head after hearing these:
Would Amber have to be toothless so soon?
Was there anything that could be done to prevent this?
Did LOL vet misdiagnose her dental condition in the beginning?
Overall, I was quite pleased with the service from Maranatha Vet, we even talked a bit about boarding safety as well as medical advice and Dr Nora did not look irritated nor rushed to send us off, instead she patiently provided great advice and I appreciated them. Of course I still can’t tell if the dental procedure is helping Amber so far but I’m sure we will know soon enough. I will be making my final verdict after the next x-ray.
Amber's poor dizzy face, haha
With this incident I am more educated and confident of my beliefs on the importance of professional dental scaling instead of self scaling/groomer. Our total cost rounded up to $800+, it was unexpected due to additional X-ray and removing of tooth, however without X-ray we could never know what was actually happening with Amber’s teeth in detail. If I allowed groomers to just scale her teeth and said she is fine then today it could have been worst, Amber could have lost all her tooth and be in severe pain for a longer period of time. I simply can't imagine if she was self scaled and had to suffer all these hidden pain and rotting for more years to come. Honestly i don't think that these groomers are all evil, but they just need to be more educated and understand the risks they are putting other dogs in.
(Please note that even though people tend to label Maranatha Vet as canine dental specialist, they actually aren't, Maranatha stated in their Facebook clearly that they are a clinic with ‘special interest’ in dentistry.)