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What Happens During a Dental Procedure?

You`ve been to the vet and found out that fluffy needs to have a dental procedure. This can be scary, whether it is just for a cleaning or they need teeth extracted. The following is a step-by-step guide of what Fluffy will be going through while in for a dental.

  1. When Fluffy comes in for their dental, the doctor will perform a pre-anesthetic examination. On this exam, the doctor is looking Fluffy over for any abnormalities that may pose any changes to the anesthesia, as well as looking at Fluffy`s teeth to get an idea as to what will be needed to be done during the dental (looking for obvious fractured teeth, areas with increased gingivitis, etc.).
  2. Once the exam is complete, the technicians will then pull blood for a pre-anesthetic blood panel (unless this has been performed prior to the date of the procedure). This blood panel allows us to see how their organs are functioning (kidneys, liver) and help us create a custom anesthesia panel to ensure patient safety.
  3. Once the blood has been collected and the results are in, the doctor chooses the anesthetic drugs that are to be used, and Fluffy will be sedated. This involves an injection into the muscle. It usually takes about 20 minutes until Fluffy is sedated enough to proceed.
  4. The technicians will then place an intravenous catheter which will be used to administer fluids to maintain blood pressure and hydration.
  5. Fluffy is then intubated and put onto an anesthetic machine to maintain anesthesia. Fluffy`s vitals will be monitored, and a blood pressure machine will be attached.
  6. Now that Fluffy is under anesthesia, a technician will take a thorough look through Fluffy`s mouth, making a dental chart. When doing this, the technician makes sure to count the teeth and make a note of any missing teeth, gingivitis, calculus build ups, broken/damaged teeth.
  7. Once the mouth has been thoroughly examined, the technician will then scale off all of the calculus builds up using an ultrasonic scaler, and a hand tool to get underneath the gum line. This allows full visual of the teeth and can sometimes show any complications that were previously covered in calculus.
  8. Once the teeth have been cleaned, the doctor will look at the mouth. At this point, if any teeth need to be extracted a local anesthetic is injected and the technicians will proceed with taking radiographs.
  9. Once the radiographs have been taken, and there has been enough time for the dental block to have taken effect, the doctor will extract the teeth needed to be removed, and suture up the extraction site.
  10. Once all teeth have been extracted, the technician will take over and use a polisher to polish the teeth. This is an important step as it will help smooth out any microscopic scratches that the scalar has made.
  11. The final step before Fluffy wakes up is applying a fluoride treatment to Fluffy`s teeth. Fluffy is then cleaned and woken up and postoperative pain medication is administered to keep Fluffy comfortable through their recovery.

After a dental, we always recommend feeding wet food (or dry food watered down) to ensure that Fluffy does not damage any of the extraction sites. This usually is continued until their recheck with the doctor 10-14 days after surgery. Once Fluffy has fully recovered and the extraction sites have healed, we recommend that (unless there are other special dietary needs) you feed a dental diet to help prevent future dental disease, as well as brush Fluffy`s teeth daily with a pet-friendly toothpaste.

I have attached above a photo of my own pet Russel`s teeth before, during and after a dental procedure, he had some teeth extracted, and he felt MUCH better after having this procedure done!

Written by: Emily Beach, RVT

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