Published August 15, 2006 11:12 pm
By LYNELLE A. MILLER
Gold teeth have become a popular fashion trend among hip-hop stars and rap moguls in Hollywood. Dr. David Steele may have just given this fad a whole new twist when he gilded his feline’s choppers.
Sebastian is a year-old Persian with a long-haired, shiny black coat. Upon first glance, he looks like any other cat. Bending down to show some affection, though, you can’t help but notice the two gold teeth protruding from his lower jaw.
“His lower teeth grew in sticking out, which is not normal,” said Steele, an Alexandria dentist. “They are supposed to grow in just like our teeth.”
Deciding they might be knocked off or become a problem, Steele devised a plan. “I wanted to strengthen them with gold crowns,” he said.
Admitting he had done this procedure on a cat before, Steele crowned the feline’s teeth approximately two weeks ago.
“About a month ago, he was tranquilized to get his coat trimmed so I took impressions of his teeth. I then sent those to my labs who do my crowns. They called back and asked me what I was up to,” he said as he laughed.
After receiving the gold crowns from the labs several weeks later, Steele took Sebastian back to the Alexandria Animal Hospital where Dr. Larry Owen, veterinarian, tranquilized him once again.
“We gave him some sedation so (Steele) could do the work,” said Owen. “He has done this once before to one of his dogs, too. I was amazed. That’s David, though, he’s a funny guy. He did not hurt the cat in any way and this could be done for a pet with a dental problem. It’s possible his teeth could have broken off because they are exposed. Mostly, though, it was a fun thing to do. (Steele is) always up to something or trying something new.”
Before the procedure, even though Sebastian is a family pet, Steele said the cat was drawn to him the most. “He’s normally around me all the time. After I put the crowns on, he didn’t ‘speak’ to me for two days,” said Steele. “He was not happy.”
Steele said the procedure only took him 10 to 15 minutes to finish and said he is happy with the results, but said there was a significant cost attached to the procedure.
“It cost the same as it would for a human being which is about $900 a tooth,” he said. “I would probably do this for someone else, but they would have to bend my arm pretty hard. It would cost a little more because it’s harder to work on animals.”
In the past, Steele said he has also performed a root canal and crown on a cat after it was hit by a car and has also put a gold crown on his Boston terrier. “It’s possible to work on animals the same way we do humans,” he said. “I did it to strengthen (Sebastian’s) teeth, but it had an excellent cosmetic result. The cat gets a lot of attention now. Everyone is tickled to death when they see him.”