What to Expect with Dog and Cat Dental Cleanings

So you have decided to bring your pet in for a dental cleaning.  Do you know what to expect?

·  Prior to the dental procedure an exam is performed to assess your pet’s general health as well his oral health.

·  Depending on the pet’s age and other health concerns, pre-anesthetic bloodwork will be performed.  These tests will help evaluate liver and kidney function.

·  The cardiovascular system is evaluated and if indicated by a heart murmur or other rhythm changes a cardiac work up may be performed.  This could include radiographs (Xrays) and/or ultrasound imaging.

·  An Intravenous Catheter is placed to run fluids to the patient to help maintain blood pressure and keep the kidneys and liver flushed.

·  The pet undergoes general anesthesia for the duration of the procedure.

.  Full-mouth intra-oral dental xrays are taken to assess the teeth and surrounding structures.  2/3 of the structure of the tooth lies unseen below the gumline.

·  Tarter and calculus are removed, from above and below the gum line, by a combination of hand and ultrasonic scaling.

·  Loose and diseased teeth are extracted as needed, controlling pain with local nerve blocks.  Sometimes, if most of the tooth is structurally sound, we may refer to a veterinary dentist for crown placement, vital pulpotomy or endodontics.  This occurs more frequently in show or highly trained dogs.

·  Cleaning the teeth stirs up a lot of bacteria in the mouth so an injection of antibiotic will be administered during the cleaning.

·  If pockets are found around the teeth, they may be treated with local antibiotics as well. This provides local treatment while reducing systemic effects.

·  Scaling the teeth causes micro-etching of the tooth surfaces when debris is removed.  This etching slightly roughens the enamel surface so all teeth are polished post scaling to restore a smooth surface.

·  Fluoride may be applied to strengthen tooth enamel.

·  Your pet recovers from anesthesia and is given any necessary pain medication and antibiotics prescribed.  Medication may be sent home for additional treatment.

– Depending on the pet’s needs, he may continue on intravenous fluids until his discharge appointment in the evening.

·  The veterinarian, or a licensed veterinary technician, will discuss dental findings and a home care protocol for your pet at the discharge appointment.

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