Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy may be the most important thing you can do for your pet’s overall health. Brushing your pets teeth, and offering a good diet along with proper chew toys can help keep tartar at bay. Tartar that you can see on the teeth is made up of bacteria, which causes infection of the gums (gingivitis), and leads to deeper pockets of infection and pain under the gum line. Just like with our own teeth, much of the disease is only visible on x-rays. We take full-mouth x-rays with every dental cleaning to make sure we can address all of the problems we find in a single procedure. Since dogs and cats require anesthesia to have dental x-rays and cleanings, we want to be able to treat any diseased teeth in the fewest number of procedures possible.
What happens during a dental cleaning? We understand that you may be nervous about your pet having an anesthetic dental cleaning. Here is an explanation of what happens “behind the scenes” to get your pet’s mouth back in tip-top shape:
Your pet’s dental cleaning will be done all in one day. You drop your pet off with us in the morning, and the doctor will perform a pre-anesthetic examination and devise an anesthetic protocol. We will place an IV catheter in order to give anesthetic drugs and to administer intravenous fluids during the anesthesia, which help support your pet’s blood pressure. We take dental procedures seriously, as they are anesthetic procedures. Therefore, all patients are supported with systemic heat therapy to prevent their body temperature from dropping, and their blood pressure, EKG, oxygen and CO 2 levels are monitored by our licensed technicians throughout the procedure. Once your pet is under anesthesia, the nurse will take full-mouth dental x-rays and clean and polish the teeth. The doctor will examine the x-rays, probe around each tooth, and make a plan to treat any problems that are found. We will call you to discuss what we have found, and let you know the cost of treatment. With your approval, we will proceed with any care that is needed, including any tooth extractions. Extractions are only performed on teeth that are non-viable, abscessed, or severely infected. Because we like to focus on integrative veterinary medicine here at CAWC, after your pets dental procedure, he or she will be treated using laser therapy to reduce swelling and inflammation, as well as undergo a light VOM/Chiropractic treatment to address neck discomfort as commonly associated with dental work. The nurse will stay with your pet until he or she is awake from the anesthesia. We will contact you to let you know your pet is recovering, and schedule a time for you to pick him or her up a few hours later. You will receive a written sheet discussing how to feed and medicate your pet after oral surgery, in addition to helpful instructions and products to maintain your pets oral health and prevent problems in the future. We also will schedule a no-charge recheck exam for 2 weeks later, to make sure any surgery locations have healed completely and that you don’t have any concerns relating to your pet’s dental care. Our goal is to always explain what we are doing and why, so that you can be comfortable with leaving your furry family member in our care. Our promise is to always treat your pet as our own.