Dental disease can affect any pet but is commonly seen in small breed dogs. Dental disease is a build-up of tartar and bacteria that not only affects the teeth and gums but in severe cases can affect organ function and increase risks of heart disease. This can also be incredibly painful for your pet. While most pets are really good at masking pain. Some signs your pet may be experiencing pain or discomfort from their mouth can be eating slowly, decreased appetite, dropping food while chewing, chewing only on one side, resisting petting on the head or face, change in demeanor or behavior, drooling, and even excessive licking of the front legs or paws.

Dental procedures are performed under anesthesia to allow our staff to thoroughly perform the dental cleaning and exam. Dental procedures help your pet maintain overall health.

Here is an explanation of the services provided the day of the dental:

Pre-Surgical exams are done the morning of a dental procedure for patients that have not been examined in the last 90 days.

Pre-anesthetic lab work is done prior to anesthesia and reviews organ function. These results may alter the anesthesia or pain medications used for the dental. We don’t typically see changes until a pet is older so we give owners the option for the lab work on younger patients but require it on older patients.

Surgical IV catheters are highly recommended for our dental patients. IV catheters allow constant venous access before, during, and after the procedure. Having an IV catheter reduces the amount of times we “poke” your pet. It also allows us to maintain a healthy blood pressure by administering fluids throughout the procedure that also keep your pet hydrated, allowing for a faster recovery time from anesthesia. We leave this to the owner’s discretion in most patients, but there may be some situations where an IV catheter is required.

Carprofen is a pain injection given to keep your pet comfortable during the scaling process and if extractions are needed. It is important to let our staff know if your pet has been receiving any medications, prescribed or over-the-counter, prior to the dental procedure.

Inhalant Anesthesia is required for the dental to give our staff the ability to thoroughly work in your pets mouth. This allows our staff to maintain and keep your pet’s airway safe while the dental is being performed.

Dental cleaning and oral exam is done under anesthesia. We use an ultrasonic scaler to clean the tartar and bacteria off the teeth before doing a thorough oral exam. During the exam, the gums are probed to look for “pockets” where the tooth is not adhered to the gum and can be a source of infection. We also inspect the teeth for cracked, wiggly or damaged teeth as well as any root exposure. In cats we look for resorptive lesions on the teeth. These are all teeth that are candidates for extraction and we plan to extract them at this time. We do not remove any “healthy” teeth and in most cases, the teeth being removed are already causing your pet discomfort.

3-D imaging is done during the dental. This is in place of traditional dental x-rays and takes less time than traditional x-rays. 3-D imaging allows us to look at every tooth individually from all directions and angles and allows us to see what is happening below the gumline, such as pockets of infection or bone degradation. Some teeth may appear healthy externally, but may have changes below the gum that require further treatment. Please let our staff know if you would like to see an example of how this technology is used.

Extractions, if needed, are done at the time of the dental. A combination of the oral exam and the imaging helps determine which teeth are candidates for extraction and which teeth are healthy. We only remove teeth that we believe are cause for concern. Please note that pets that have severe dental disease will eat just fine with little to no teeth, if not better than they have been. The cost for extractions are based on the amount of time it takes, not the amount of teeth removed.

Injections or medications may be used during the procedure or sent home. This may include antibiotics and/or pain medication depending on the condition of your pets mouth during the procedure.

Cold laser therapy is an optional light therapy we offer to help reduce pain, inflammation, and promote healing at the site of extractions. This benefit is offered at the owner’s discretion.

Dental procedures are full day procedures. On the day of the procedure, we ask owners to drop off in the morning between 8:30a – 9a. Pets should arrive fasted, meaning no food after midnight the night before.

Please be available by phone the day of the procedure. Our dental estimates are a broad treatment plan for the day. While we do our best, we cannot foresee all variables. We will call if we expect anything outside of our initial expectations.

If you have any questions regarding dental procedures or scheduling, please reach out to our office at 435-673-9696.