Just because I find this all so perversely humorous, let's examine the "estimate" given to me by the vet (ahem, Veterinary Hospital, thank you very much). Then I will get it out of my system and call them to negotiate.
Every aspect of this estimate gets a Low Amount and a High Amount. But it could go higher. It won't go lower.
Oral Treatment Level 1
$344.50 (can you imagine a Level 3?)
This includes: examination, hospitalization, pre-anesthetic blood work to assure organ health, sedation and in-hospital pain control, intravenous catheter placement and fluid therapy, anesthesia and anesthesia monitoring, whole mouth digital x-rays to look for invisible disease under the gum line, digital photography, complete oral exam under general anesthesia which includes removal of plaque and tartar, ultrasonic scaling, sub-gingival scraping (root planing), polishing and application of Oravet, nursing care, charting and record keeping, recheck appointment 10-14 days after procedure to discuss follow-up home care. Pain medication, antibiotics gift-wrapping and sealants to go home are additional.
There are plenty of disclaimers, which lead me to believe there will definitely be a High Amount.
Dental Nerve Block
$25.25 (both Low and High) is that per nerve?
High $337.50 high is right!
Oral Surgery (per minute) per MINUTE?
Low (60 mins) $240
High (90 mins) $360
Note: These are canines, notorious for long, difficult roots. Let's just say "Ultra High" at 2 hours
Small Animal Medication
Then there is the disclaimer, and the promise to pay the full amount at discharge. Or else, what? They keep your cat? Claim your firstborn? Have you thrown in jail? I used to love this veterinary practice and have been going for years. It's not close and it's not convenient. But they have grown into an institution and I am no longer feeling the love. They make you feel incredibly guilty because YOU have caused this problem through your utter neglect. Never mind that this particular cat, although sweet-natured, is close to 20 pounds of muscle and nerve. He hates to be confined, held too long, fiddled with, examined, captured, caged, driven, poked, and prodded. If they think I will rassle him to the ground every other day to examine his teeth, they are sorely mistaken. I do the best I can. I am cursed with cats with bad dental health.
My approach is going to be: How much is it for you to extract his two canines? I want no polishing, scraping, planing, bows, glitter or whatever. Then, after a reasonable amount of time - when he's had the space to forget the horrors of the Veterinary Hospital and I've had the time to regroup (again) my finances - we will have the Oral Treatment Level 1.
I'll probably have to sign something that states that I am a neglectful and evil cat mother. Sigh.