What happens when I bring my dog/cat in for a dental?

Your pet needs regular dental care just like you do.  Because we can’t ask them to lean back and say “Ah” we use sedation dentistry.

After screening your pet to be sure they are healthy enough for sedation, we set up a day for him/her to come to the hospital.  In the interest of making the procedure as safe as possible, we will often prescribe a course of antibiotics to start prior to the procedure. The day of the appointment, your pet gets a pre-sedation physical, an IV catheter, and many times pre-sedation medications to relax them and make the visit as calming and stress free as possible.

At the time of the procedure, they receive anesthetic medication through the IV catheter, just enough to be able to breathe through a tracheal tube, and lie down so that the doctor and technicians can work in their mouth. They also receive IV fluids through the catheter to keep them hydrated.

Typically, the doctor directs the anesthesia and other medications, the dental technician uses an ultrasonic scaler to clean the tartar from the teeth, and another technician monitors the anesthesia as well as the pet’s vital signs. Now with clean teeth, the doctor performs an oral exam to assess any further needs.  This includes looking for broken teeth, cavities, oral tumors, gum disease causing gingival pockets, and assisting the need for dental radiography.  At this point we will make a plan for any recommended procedures, or go straight to polishing and sealing the teeth.

After recovery from sedation, your pet is ready to go home with a clean fresh-smelling mouth!

Dr. Jenifer Russell, DVM