February is National Pet Dental Health Month

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February is National Pet Dental Health Month

Dental health is very important for the overall health and well being of our furry friends.   The best care starts at home with routine maintenance like brushing and oral health treats.  However, just like us our pets need professional cleaning and exams done regularly to keep their chompers healthy.  Unfortunately, dogs and cats won’t allow us to clean their teeth and take radiographs without the aid of general anesthesia.  We know this makes a lot of people nervous so this month’s blog will walk you through the process and what to expect the day of your pets oral health procedure.

We do everything we can to ensure that anesthesia is as safe as possible.  To achieve this we do a thorough physical exam and lab work prior to the procedure to make sure there is no reason for concern.  This is done at a separate visit so we can plan our anesthesia and oral health procedure.

The day of the cleaning and exam it is important that your pet be fasted.  They arrive first thing in the morning, and are checked in by the licensed veterinary technician (LVT) who will take care of them from start to finish.  They are more than happy to answer any questions you have and will also set up a time to pick up your pet in the afternoon.

Once here they are examined again by the doctor.  Pain medications are given upon arrival followed by an injection to calm the pet down to minimize the stress of being in the hospital.  Once they are anesthetized they are monitored by a LVT while another LVT cleans and evaluates the teeth and gums.  Radiographs are taken to look for any disease under the gums.  After a thorough cleaning the teeth are polished.  Next the doctor evaluates the radiographs and does a complete oral examination.  At this time any teeth that cannot be saved are extracted by the doctor.   We also trim the nails and check their ears while the pet is anesthetized. 

Your pet wakes up from anesthesia in a warm kennel, and continues to be closely monitored by LVTs and assistants throughout the rest of the day.  The doctor will call to let you know when the procedure is completed and your pet is awake from the anesthesia.

At the pickup appointment your LVT will go over all of your take home instructions and medications as well as show you the before and after pictures of your pets teeth.  They are happy to answer any questions, and the doctor will meet with you as well.  If there were any teeth extracted we will set up a recheck appointment to ensure everything has healed well.  The LVT will also discuss maintenance care steps that you can take at home. 

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