Step by step guide to your pet’s dental procedure

Within 30 days before a dental procedure (or any anesthetic procedure), lab work is required to ensure that your pet is healthy enough for the procedure and will be able to tolerate the necessary anesthesia and medications. The anesthesia ensures that we can do a complete job of safely and effectively scaling away dental disease above and below the gum line.

The day of the procedure, the doctor will perform a pre-procedure examination. Next, we administer a medication to minimize stress, prevent pain and promote sedation. The medications are chosen specifically for your pet. This sedation also decreases the amount of anesthesia necessary and helps smooth the recovery.

Every anesthetic patient receives an intravenous (IV) catheter. We continuously administer fluids during the procedure help maintain blood pressure and hydration in your pet during anesthesia. The IV catheter also allows direct vein access in the rare case that an emergency situation arises.  The IV catheter enhances your pet’s safety during anesthesia!

On the day of your pet’s procedure, a technician will meet you to answer any questions or concerns you may have. They will go over the plan for the day and have you sign some paperwork. At this time, we will get a contact number for you. This is very important and allows us to update you on your pet’s progress and contact you to discuss the findings of the oral exam.

To start the procedure, we first administer an anesthetic agent into the IV catheter.  Our anesthetics are the same used in human medicine. This allows us to pass an endotracheal tube (breathing tube) into the trachea (wind pipe). This is very important because it protects the airway from oral bacteria and ensures your pet has proper anesthesia and oxygen.

We then administer a combination of oxygen and a gas anesthetic (isoflurane) via the endotracheal tube. Proper precautions are necessary to maintain your pet’s body temperature. We use a BairHugger (warming unit specifically designed to distribute warm air over an anesthetized patient) or other devices to maintain warmth during the procedure.

We take anesthesia very seriously. A dedicated and trained veterinary technician monitors your pet throughout the duration of the procedure and their recovery. We closely monitor every patient’s ECG (heart rhythm/rate), blood pressure, respiration rate, oxygen saturation, temperature, anesthetic depth and expired carbon dioxide.  Although this may seem like a lot of equipment, your pet’s safety and comfort are our top priority!

We take radiographs (X-rays) of the entire mouth on every patient. The machine is very similar to what you may find in your own dentist’s office. All of our dental X-rays are digital which allows the doctor to review them immediately. These X-rays provide the information needed to make the important decision of correct treatment of any abnormalities or disease.

The doctor will always perform a complete oral examination while your pet is under anesthesia. They will check for conditions such as loose teeth, missing teeth, extra teeth or deep pocketing. In addition, they will look for other concerns in the oral cavity such as the presence of an oral mass.

The dental instruments we use are very similar to those used for humans. We will carefully scale above and below the gum line and on all the surfaces of the teeth. It is imperative to scale below the gum line, as this is where most of the disease lies. The anesthesia ensures that we can do a complete job of safely and effectively scaling away this material. If not completely treated, the remaining dental disease can lead to further health problems and progressive periodontal disease. After the technician has completed scaling, the veterinarian will check the results and perform any additional procedures.

After the scaling of the teeth is complete, we polish the teeth. This helps smooth the surface of the teeth and prevents plaque from accumulating.

As with every anesthetic procedure, we will trim your pet’s nails if needed at no additional charge.

We make your pet’s recovery process as smooth and comfortable as possible. A dedicated technician closely monitors your recovering pet after the procedure. We continue intravenous fluids through recovery to help metabolize the anesthesia and speed recovery. The IV catheter is removed once your pet has completely recovered. We will call you soon after your pet is awake from anesthesia.

When your pet is ready to be discharged, we will review your pet’s treatments with you. We will go over home care instructions, prescriptions, and detailed information on the dental work we performed. We may also provide before and after photos of your pet’s mouth. Once all of your questions and concerns have been answered, we will reunite you with your pet and their new and improved sparkling teeth!

Voted Best of the Bay - 2016