Pets, like people, need regular dental cleaning to protect their teeth. Unfortunately, this is a responsibility that too many pet owners neglect. More than 80% of pets over the age of two suffer from some form of dental disease. Without regular brushing, plaque will accumulate and eventually harden into tartar, which may harbor bacteria that may eat away at underlying bone. Eventually, this bone loss can lead to problems like bleeding gums, loose teeth, and pain. The best prevention for dental problems is regular brushing with a soft-bristle toothbrush and pet-formulated toothpaste. Also, having professional dental cleanings performed by your veterinarian as needed will help to prevent dental problems.
(information provided by Dr. Jim Humphries, veterinary administrator, www.PetDocsOnCall.com)
Some things to expect when your pet comes in to Sand Creek Animal Hospital for a dental cleaning...
Your Pet's Day at the Dentist!
Why is a Dental Cleaning important? Dental cleanings can prevent further damage from dental disease and save as many teeth as possible. The tartar that builds up in your pet's mouth can have adverse effects on your pet's heart, kidneys, intestinal tract, and joints. During a professional dental cleaning, this harmful tartar is removed and the mouth is thoroughly inspected.
On the morning of your pet's surgical procedure, the doctor will conduct a pre-anesthetic exam to ensure that he or she is healthy for surgery. Once your pet has been examined, he or she will be placed in a clean, private kennel.
Preparing for Surgery
At this time, pre-surgical pain medications are given to your pet to help relax and keep him or her comfortable during and after surgery. Also, a catheter is inserted into the arm to administer intravenous fluids throughout the procedure. The Surgical Technician will then begin preparing for surgery by drawing up injectable anesthetic along with any post-surgery pain medications. The Technician will also prepare the sterile surgical instruments, sutures, and gloves for the doctor's use.
Before the procedure, surgical monitors are set up to monitor heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen levels. Your pet is then anesthetized. Once anesthetized, a breathing tube will be placed in the trachea. This will allow the delivery of oxygen and gas anesthetic directly into the lungs. The eyes are lubricated in order to protect them while under anesthesia. The nails are trimmed at this time.
Dental Cleaning and Polishing
The Technician will begin by removing the heavy tartar from your pet's teeth. Each tooth will be hand-scaled using an ultrasonic scaler to remove tartar and plaque. The tooth surface will be scaled as well as the area under the gums. Each tooth will be polished thoroughly and the doctor will examine and probe each tooth looking for any problems. At this time, any problem teeth will be surgically extracted. Before and after photos will be taken of his or her teeth. When the dental cleaning is complete, the Technician may apply Oravet Sealant to his or her teeth to help prevent future plaque and tartar buildup.
Post Operative Care
While the doctors are finishing the procedure, the kennel is prepared for recovery. Blankets and heating disks are placed inside a clean, private kennel for comfort. Following surgery, your pet will be monitored and kept comfortable throughout the recovery period. Pain medications will be administered as needed to maintain an appropriate comfort level and pain medications will also be sent home. Your pet will be ready to go home the same day of surgery. At this time the Surgical Technician will bring you into a discharge room and review the surgery and go over any discharge instructions. The next day our office will call and check in on your pet to be sure he or she is comfortable and to answer any questions.
Home Dental Care
It is important to begin a daily dental care routine with your pet by brushing or wiping his or her teeth only with toothpaste made for pets and applying Oravet Sealant to the teeth every week.