Your pet’s dental health is more than just a pretty smile. Dental disease can lead to heart disease and kidney disease, not to mention the discomfort your pet suffers. Your cat or dog’s full dental procedure will include anesthesia for their safety and improved results. What is involved in a dental cleaning? During a dental cleaning your pet is fully anesthetized and monitored by one of our Licensed Veterinary Technicians who will ultrasonically scale and polish your pet’s teeth. Full mouth dental x-rays will be performed to determine tooth health and viability. Dental x-rays are critically important, since half of the tooth lies below the gumline. After the teeth are cleaned, the veterinarian will examine each tooth and safely remove any nonviable teeth. Post surgical therapy laser is also an option for patients with surgical extractions.
We understand that it can be very nerve racking to leave your baby, and we want you to know what to expect!
So what happens when your cat or dog needs a dental procedure?
1. First, your pet will come in for a pre-surgery physical exam appointment. At this appointment, one of our veterinarians will perform a thorough exam on your pet, and ensure that that meet pre-surgical requirements such as necessary vaccines. The doctor may recommend screening blood work to make sure your pet’s organs are in appropriate health for surgery and will be sure to answer any questions you may have. Finally, our team members will help you schedule your surgery and review necessary information such as drop off times. You will also receive a pre-surgery packet in the mail containing a written review of instructions and a copy of your treatment plan.
2. When you drop off your baby on surgery day, you will meet with our surgery technician or assistant before you leave. They will review your pet’s treatment plan, collect your contact information for the day and answer any last minute questions you may have.
3. Once admitted, all patients receive a pre-medication injection, which helps calm and relax them so they can comfortably wait for their turn in surgery. Once they are feeling relaxed, they will have their blood drawn or IV catheter placed if required for their particular surgery.
4. When it is their turn for surgery, they are given injectable medication to induce anesthesia. This allows the licensed veterinary technician to place an endotracheal tube into their airway. This tubes allows us to control the anesthesia and oxygen that they receive during surgery.
5. Once they are fully anesthetized they are connected to machines that will monitor their heart rate, blood pressure, EKG, and oxygen saturation. They remain on these monitors until they are out of surgery. Our licensed veterinary technician closely watches for any abnormalities or signs of concern.
6. Nails are trimmed and a lubricant is placed in the eyes as pets do not close their eyes while anesthetized. One of our licensed veterinary technicians will polish and scale your pet’s teeth to remove what staining and tartar can be removed.
7. Your pet’s mouth is then very carefully examined and probed by the veterinarian and dental x-rays are performed to get a very clear picture of your pet’s oral health. This is something your pet definitely doesn’t let us do during an exam when they are awake! If there are any questions or concerns we have during the procedure, our surgical team will call you. It is critical that you need to be available for contact if your pet is here for a dental procedure, as sometimes dental extraction plans change once our doctor does an oral examination under anesthesia. We generally have an idea of what needs to be done when it comes to dental extractions, but it can be challenging for an awake pet to let us get a good look in their mouths! Any surgical extractions are completed by the veterinarian.
8. After the procedure, your pet recovers on soft blankets while one of our surgical team members stays with them. At this time, post surgical laser therapy may be performed. Once your pet is fully awake, the endotracheal tube will be removed from the airway and the pet will be moved to a kennel to rest. Our smaller pets stay right in our treatment area with our team. Large patients (who just can’t fit comfortably in the treatment room) are moved to the dog ward and are monitored by video which streams directly into onto our treatment room TV. This allows us to continue to monitor our patients even after they are safely awake.
9. We usually ask you to call after 2 pm for an update at which time we can schedule a discharge appointment for that afternoon. Our surgical patients do not usually stay overnight as we have no staff here to monitor them. If your pets surgery was done under emergency circumstances, we may recommend transfer to the Veterinary Medical Center of CNY where they can be supervised all night.
10. When you come in for your discharge appointment, you will meet with the surgical technician who will review the day’s procedure with you, review any medications or instructions and make sure your questions are answered. We want you to be comfortable with the information when you take your pet home!
You can see some behind the scenes footage from actual dental procedures below!