How Does Your Veterinarian Clean Your Pet’s Teeth

February is national pet dental health month and if you have been following along you have seen a lot of talk about dental cleaning procedures for your pets! As a local veterinarian, the next question I hear after making a dental recommendation is “What does that consist of?” This week we will walk through the steps of dog and cat dental procedures.

  1. Your veterinarian will start with an examination of your pet to check for any signs your pet may have an underlying condition that would delay the dental procedure. In some instances, oral radiographs may be recommended for a further dental examination.
  2. Then pre-operative screening bloodwork is recommended to look for any liver, kidney, electrolyte etc. issues that might make anesthesia an unreasonable risk.
  3. Next, if tooth extractions are anticipated, anti-inflammatory and pain medications are administered before the procedure starts to help keep any inflammation or pain at bay.
  4. If all clear with the examination and blood work, an anesthetic protocol, designed for your pet, is administered and a technician is set to monitor your pet.
  5. An intravenous (IV) catheter is recommended to allow your veterinarian to administer fluid therapy and any medications needed during the procedure.
  6. Your veterinarian and technician will examine each tooth and section of gum for disease and record their findings for future reference of your pet’s oral health.
  7. Next, the tartar on your pet’s teeth will be removed and an ultrasonic dental scaler will be used to clean your pet’s teeth and just under their gum line to remove bacteria that build a film on teeth and cause bad breath and lead to the hazards of dental disease. Your veterinarian will then remove any teeth that are not healthy and are causing further disease and pain.
  8. Finally, your pet will be recovered from anesthesia and sent on his/her way to live a happier, healthier life!
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