What You Need to Know Before Dentistry
Dental prophylaxis and extractions are a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia. Pets can go home the same day. We scale and polish the teeth under anesthesia, and remove any teeth that need to be extracted, closing the hole with suture material. Finally, we apply an oral sealant gel and schedule a recheck for 10 days following.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery much safer than in the past. Here at Healthy Pets Veterinary Services, we do a thorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics, to ensure that a fever or other illness won't be a problem. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on the health of your pet.
Pre-anesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk of anesthesia. Every pet needs blood testing before surgery to ensure that the liver and kidneys can handle the anesthetic. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problems that cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem, it is more beneficial to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgical complications. Animals that have minor dysfunction will handle the anesthetic better if they receive IV fluids during surgery. If serious problems are detected, surgery can be postponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer three levels of blood testing before surgery, which we will review with you during your pet's appointment. Our doctors prefer the more comprehensive screen, because it gives them the most information to ensure the safety of your pet. For geriatric or ill pets, additional blood tests, electrocardiograms, or x-rays may be required before surgery.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reduce the risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need to withhold food for at least 8 to 10 hours before surgery. Water can be given to your pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
If there are extractions needed, we will use absorbable sutures. These will dissolve on their own, and do not need to be removed later. We ask that, if extractions are performed, the dog or cat only be given wet food for 2 weeks following the procedure.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected to cause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain as people do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure they feel it. Routine dental prophylaxis without extractions does not typically cause pain; there may be some minor discomfort from cleaning under the gums.
Injectable pain medication for dental extractions is used during and/or after surgery for both dogs and cats. We will also prescribe a pain relief gel for you to take home after your pet has had teeth extracted. Providing appropriate pain relief is the humane and caring thing to do for your pet.
What other decisions do I need to make?
While your pet is under anesthesia, it is the ideal time to perform other minor procedures, ear cleaning, nail trims, vaccinations, or implanting an identification microchip. If you would like an estimate for these extra services, please call ahead of time. This is especially important if the person dropping the pet off for dentistry is not the primary decision maker for the pet's care.
When you bring your pet in for the procedure, we will need 5 to 10 minutes of time to fill out paperwork and make decisions on blood testing and other available options. When you pick up your pet after the dentistry you can also plan to spend about 10 minutes going over your pet's home care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgery appointment to confirm the time you will be dropping off your pet and to answer questions concerning the procedure. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health or procedure.