Pets need dental care just like their owners. Just imagine if you never brushed your teeth. What would your mouth be like?
What happens when I bring my pet in for a professional dental cleaning?
You are greeted at the front, where you will need to fill out some paper work and your pet gets weighed. Your pet will receive a health exam. If you approved pre-anesthetic blood testing, we run the blood work at this time as well. At this time, your pet receives an injection of some medication that will make your pet sleepy.
Once your pet is sedated, we place an IV catheter so they can receive fluids throughout the procedure which helps support blood pressure and their kidneys through the anesthesia. We also put in an endotracheal tube that protects their airway while we are working in their mouth, gives them oxygen and a gas that keeps them sleeping.
We then examine the mouth looking for broken teeth, lesions, pockets in the gingiva and any other potential problems. The teeth are then cleaned using hand scalers and an ultrasonic scaler. We have a digital dental xray that allows us to quickly take pictures of the teeth to look for underlying problems, just like at your dentist!
If we find problems with a tooth, and the tooth needs to be removed, we “freeze” the nerves, and start dental surgery by making a gingival flap, removing the tooth and stitching the gingival flap closed. For people, this would mean a second appointment, but for our patients we prefer to do everything at once to reduce the number of times our patients are put under anesthesia.
A new procedure we are now trained to perform is applying dental sealant. We can apply this to teeth where the enamel has very recently been chipped away and the pulp has not been exposed. This seals up the tooth, decreasing the chance of the tooth getting abscessed and decreasing the pain associated with that tooth.
Remember, pets can not tell you what hurts. Teeth can be chronically painful and can make your pet miserable. We have seen “grumpy” cats where after they have had a painful tooth removed, they have become the nicest cats.
They may seem to eat perfectly normal and still have painful teeth in their mouth and they don’t always have lots of visible tartar to tell you there is a problem. Only a good dental exam will reveal those issues and usually that requires sedation to complete.
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