Your dog’s teeth need to be kept clean, just as your teeth do. And while you may be quite familiar with the dental process for having your own teeth cleaned, it’s a little different when it comes to our pets. At San Marco Animal Hospital near Jacksonville, FL, we do everything possible to ensure that your dog’s teeth cleaning goes as smoothly as possible. We understand that dropping your dog off to have its teeth cleaned under anesthesia can make you anxious, which is why we’ve taken the time below to explain the procedure.
When you are making an appointment for your dog’s teeth to be cleaned, we may recommend pre-anesthetic lab work. Unlike humans, dogs do not cooperate when it comes to holding their mouths open for dental cleanings. Anesthesia is required to make sure that we can keep your dog still while we clean the teeth, make sure the procedure isn’t painful, and keep their airway open and protected.
While we always do everything to make anesthesia as safe as possible, there are certain health conditions that can put your dog at a greater risk of complications when undergoing anesthesia. If the lab results are normal, we know that your dog presents the lowest risk of adverse reactions to the anesthesia. If the lab results are abnormal, we can determine whether there are adjustments we can do to make sure the anesthesia is as safe as possible. There’s also the possibility that we may determine it is not safe at all for anesthesia to be used at all on your dog.
In order to deliver the anesthesia to your dog, the vet or vet tech will place an IV catheter in order to deliver the anesthesia along with fluids to your pet. Once the anesthetic is administered, your dog will fall asleep quickly and a breathing tube will be placed into the mouth. This is important to keep the airway open and allow oxygen to be delivered to your dog.
Your dog’s anesthesia will constantly be monitored and adjusted during the procedure and their vital signs closely monitored to make sure that they remain asleep and are not at risk of any complications.
The entire process starts with a thorough teeth cleaning by the vet tech under the supervision of the veterinarian. This cleaning is like your teeth cleaning by a dental hygienist and begins with the removal of any plaque and tartar that has accumulated on the teeth and along the gumline. A special ultrasonic scaler tool is used to remove bacteria that has gone underneath the gumline. The vet tech will also look for any signs of infection or gum disease.
If there are any abnormalities observed during the teeth cleaning, x-rays can be taken to assess the health of the tooth roots and determine if the tooth needs to be pulled.
Once all plaque and tartar has been removed, your dog’s teeth will be polished and then treated with a foam fluoride. Polishing the teeth is important because it helps prevent future plaque and tartar buildup. The final step of your dog’s teeth cleaning is to apply a sealant that protects the teeth from future plaque and tartar buildup.
Once the teeth cleaning is over, your pet will be moved into anesthesia recovery where they are monitored closely as they wake up. Most dogs will go home the same day as their cleaning but will probably be tired and lethargic as a result of the procedure. Pain killers or antibiotics may be prescribed depending on what work needed to be done.
Gum disease is a problem that affects up to 85 percent of pets by the time they are three years old. The same bacteria that cause infection in your dog’s mouth can travel to other areas of the body, putting them at risk for other health complications such as heart, kidney, or liver disease. Eliminating the bacteria is important for your dog’s oral health and total wellness.
If you are in the Jacksonville, FL area and would like to learn more about teeth cleaning treatments for your dog, please call us at 904-516-9767.