What happens during my pet's dental cleaning procedure?

What happens during my pet's dental cleaning procedure?

Most humans have their teeth cleaned twice a year by a dentist, and it is important that our pets have their teeth cleaned by a dentist regularly, too. Pet dental cleanings are a little different from human dental cleanings, though. To give you an idea of what a professional dental cleaning is like for your pet, here’s a step-by-step breakdown.

Step One
A pre-anesthetic exam is performed before the procedure to ensure no new health concerns have developed that would put your pet at risk while under anesthesia. Once this is completed, your pet receives pre-anesthetic medications, which help relax your pet before the procedure and minimize discomfort your pet may feel upon waking.

Step Two
We recommend an intravenous catheter, which administers the anesthetic drugs, gives IV fluids that help maintain your pet’s blood pressure, and serves as a port for other medications that could be needed during the procedure.

Step Three
Your pet then receives induction drugs that put your pet under anesthesia. An endo-tracheal tube is placed to deliver the maintenance anesthetic gas and to prevent tartar and other foreign material from entering your pet’s lungs.

Step Four
Before starting the procedure, your pet is placed on monitoring devices and a heating unit to keep him/her warm. Also, your pet begins receiving IV fluids.

Step Five
A technician begins cleaning the teeth using an ultrasonic scaling tool under the gum line as well as inside and outside the teeth. Additional instruments may be used on tartar that is more difficult to remove. Your pet’s teeth are evaluated and their condition charted throughout the cleaning. A probe is placed under the gum line to detect and measure the presence of periodontal pockets (gum detachment). The veterinarian assesses all teeth to determine if any require x-rays, extractions, or other treatments.

Step Six
If needed, an x-ray will be taken to assess the condition of the tooth roots, possibly revealing abscesses, bone loss, fractures and other abnormalities that may be present.  Depending on the x-ray results, a tooth may need to be extracted. These decisions are always performed by the veterinarian overseeing the procedure.

End Result
Your pet leaves with beautiful, clean teeth, but they will not stay that way. You have to help maintain your pet’s oral health by brushing his/her teeth and following staff recommendations.