A Day in the Veterinary “Dental Chair”
What happens when a pet gets a teeth cleaning?
So maybe you’ve noticed that your furry friend has especially bad breath lately. Or maybe during a recent physical exam, the doctor pointed out dental tartar or calculus, gingivitis or other dental disease and has recommended a cleaning and even possibly(gasp!) extractions. What does that really mean to the patient?
Just like people, our pet’s dental health can affect them on many levels. Of course, oral comfort and health is important. Less apparent is the effect of dental disease on their entire system. Inflammation and oral bacteria can cause disease in the respiratory system (sinusitis, tonsil enlargement and bronchitis), the heart, especially the valves in the heart, and the liver and kidneys. Being proactive and cleaning the teeth before more serious disease develops is an excellent way to avoid these sequalae.
So, what does that actually mean for your pet? Generally, the patient comes in early morning. Since anesthesia is essential for a complete cleaning and oral exam, we ask that they not be fed for 12 hours prior. Understandably, many pet parents have serious concerns about anesthetic risk. Since we take anesthesia seriously, we offer pre anesthetic laboratory and X-ray screenings (depending on the individuals health) and comprehensive anesthetic monitoring and support.
When we have the patient comfortably sleeping, we perform a thorough oral exam, detailed cleaning and polishing, and possibly dental X-rays. If there are no areas of concern, our patients wake up on a recovery bed with warm blankets as we monitor them.
Unfortunately, we occasionally find areas of concern. We proceed with dental X-rays and will contact the owners for treatment recommendations which often include extractions. The extractions are performed with the addition of medication to control pain and infection. These pets are also carefully recovered.
Our doggy and kitty patients go home that evening with special soft food and medication to make their home recovery as smooth as possible. Within days to a couple of weeks (if extractions were performed) our little friends are more comfortable, healthier, and have better smelling breath!
Dental care is just one part of comprehensive medical care that will keep your beloved pet healthy and happy. We strive to provide our patients, your furry friends, with the best well-rounded care so you can love them and be loved by them for a very long time.