Have you ever had a pet who has had a dental or needs one in their future? Do you wonder what happens during the procedure? Let me walk you through it.
It all starts when your pet is in for an exam. The doctor will look in their mouth and may notice tartar, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and potentially teeth that need to be removed. From there they will create a dental estimate and go over it with you to ensure you understand the breakdown of the cost. All animals getting a dental will be required to run bloodwork. Bloodwork is to be run prior to the day of the dental in case there are any other concerns we need to deal with. If the bloodwork looks good and the doctor is happy to proceed then we will see you the day of the dental!
The morning of the dental all patients get admitted over the phone to help create a low stress environment. A surgical nurse will admit the patient and obtain consent for anesthesia. Once that has been completed, a team member will come out to your vehicle and bring your pet inside. They will then get an updated weight on your pet to ensure the most accurate drug dosing. The doctor will then perform a complimentary pre-anesthetic exam to make sure no other health complications have appeared since their last exam. They are then put into their kennel that will be home for the day. Their sedation is then administered to make them sleepy enough to place an intravenous (IV) placed in their leg, to allow easy access to administer drugs and give fluids throughout surgery. This will help maintain their blood pressure, keep them hydrated and allow easy access to administer drugs if a complication were to arise. Your pet will now be anesthetized. This means that your pet will be unconscious and not able to move or feel pain. A Registered Veterinary Technologist (RVT) will monitor the patient’s vital signs for the entire procedure. Once anesthetized, dental x-rays will be taken to look for any concerns below the gum line. The doctor then reviews the x-rays and then examines the teeth.
The RVT will then begin cleaning the teeth. Similarly, when we go to the dentist, the teeth are scaled to remove any tartar and then polished to smooth the surface of the teeth.
If any teeth need to be removed, the doctor will call you and go over a plan to make sure you are both on the same page. Freezing will be administered to reduce pain and lower the anesthetic being used. The doctor will then remove the tooth or teeth and close the gums with suture. An injection of a pain medication/anti-inflammatory is given to have on board when they are waking up. They are then placed into their kennel to wake up and routinely checked to ensure they are having a smooth recovery. In the afternoon they are offered a small snack and have their IV catheter removed. Home care instructions will differ per patient, but our team will instruct you how to give the best post-operative care to your pet at home. Generally, your pet does not need to be seen for a re-check appointment, but we are happy to see them after their dental if you have any worries!