A dental procedure has more benefit than just cosmetic appeal. Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissue surrounding teeth and the main cause of early tooth loss. The bacteria associated with periodontal disease can also travel in the bloodstream to infect the heart, kidneys, and liver. Often times we recommend dental cleanings for our patients and owners often times do not understand all that a dental entails. We would like to walk you through the steps of a dental procedure from beginning to end so that you understand what to expect when you bring your pet in for this procedure. Before we can perform a dental on your pet we first need to see your pet and perform an exam of the mouth and teeth. Your pet’s dental disease will be judged on a scale from zero-four, zero being no dental disease and four being severe dental disease. Good dental health is important to the overall well-being of your pet.
Your pet will be fasted overnight. This means that after 8:00pm your pet will only have access to water. No food, including treats can be given.
You will bring your pet in for registration the morning of the procedure. The staff will review the patient’s medical history and all pertinent information. Your pet will remain with us for the procedure and you will pick him/her up later the same day. We all wish that pets would sit still and open wide but that is not the case so pets need to stay all day as they need to be put under anesthesia for the procedure.
The surgery staff and the doctor will do a pre-surgical exam on the patient. At this time they will also obtain a blood sample (if not already completed at the dental consult) so that they can run bloodwork. While it is not a guarantee against complications, we do the bloodwork to maximize our patients’ safety during surgery and other procedures that require anesthesia.
The surgery staff will then place a catheter in the leg and begin the patient on IV fluids. IV fluids will be administered to your pet during the dental procedure to help improve the safety of the anesthetic procedure.
Medication to sedate the patient will be administered and the patient will then be intubated. The tube is placed in the patient’s trachea to allow the administration of gas anesthesia and oxygen. The patient will be monitored closely while under anesthesia for the entire dental procedure.
At this time a more comprehensive dental exam is performed. They will probe (inspect) each and every tooth individually (42 in dogs, 30 in cats). The exam includes the following; removal of visible plaque from the teeth, elimination of tartar from under the gum, and inspect for pockets of infection. The doctor will re-inspect the teeth and those that are fractured or severely diseased will be surgically removed at this time. If extractions are deemed necessary, the suture used in the mouth is absorbable so the patient will not need to have the sutures removed. They may also take dental x-rays if warranted. The technician will polish all of the remaining teeth.
The length of time it takes to complete a dental varies on the patient’s level of periodontal disease and the amount of extractions that are necessary. A chart is created to show missing and extracted teeth and create a history so progression of dental disease can be monitored over time.
The pet will then be placed in recovery and the patients tube will be removed. The patient will be monitored until fully awake. Patients are typically ready to go home the same day. With their dental procedure complete, your pet can now go home with fresh breath and show off their pearly whites!
The Staff at Stow Kent Animal Hospital
YouTube Video made by the Stow Kent Staff on tooth brushing visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsRNSzPCT84
For more information please visit: https://www.avma.org/Events/pethealth/Pages/February-is-National-Pet-Dental-Health-Month.aspx