We are passionate about dental hygiene at Northeast Animal Hospital in St Petersburg
Periodontal disease affects nearly 85 percent of all cats and dogs over three years of age. Left untreated, this disease has been associated with liver, kidney, and heart disorders. It is a frequent cause of pain, can progress to destroy the gums and tissues that support the teeth, which may result in the eventual loss of teeth and leads to poor general health.
The good news is that dental disease is preventable and treatable in most pets. Our doctors and technicians have advanced training in dentistry and therefore can provide high quality dental care. We strive to improve your pet’s health and comfort through cleaning, digital radiography, and oral surgery, providing the most thorough and safest care possible.
A Day in the Dentist’s Office
So, after you’ve been told that your pet needs dental treatment, whether it is a basic cleaning or it has been discovered that they need extractions, you may be wondering what exactly that means. Here’s what a typical day might entail for your pet once you drop them off.
The doctor in charge of the case examines your pet that morning to get the latest physical exam information. This helps the doctor make specific adjustments to the overall plan for the day and possible modifications to the anesthetic doses.
Your pet is premedicated (usually with an injection) to help sedate them, which allows easier placement of the intravenous (I.V.) catheter. This sedation also allows us to lessen how much total anesthesia is used during the procedure.
The procedure is started by using an injectable, short acting anesthetic to allow us to place an endotracheal (E.T.) tube. Once the E.T. tube is in place, we can transition the pet to gas anesthesia for the remainder of the procedure.
Numerous monitoring devices (i.e pulse oximeter, pulse rate, blood pressure, ECG) are arranged, warming blankets are put in place, and I.V. fluids are initiated to help maintain blood pressure. The anesthetic nurse then starts recording all the available information on our anesthetic monitoring sheet, and records all parameters every 5 minutes. The anesthetic nurse stays with the pet during the entire procedure, and coordinates changes observed with the doctor to make any immediate adjustments to the anesthesia.
The dental nurse, meanwhile, has started the dental procedure. This entails an initial oral exam, and probing and charting for dental abnormalities.
Large accumulations of tartar are gently removed using forceps. Then, the remaining dental tartar is removed using an ultrasonic scaler. The dental nurse focuses specifically on the gum line and just under the edge of the gums.
Once all the dental surfaces are clean, all dental surfaces are polished.
Any areas of concern are x-rayed using our digital dental x-ray unit. The digital unit allows us to take the x-rays very quickly and minimize any additional anesthesia.
The doctor evaluates all the information (visual oral exam, x-rays, charting information) then creates a plan for the remainder of the dental procedure. This could involve extractions, periodontal surgery, or implanting specialized materials, like antibiotic gels, into problem areas. If extractions or additional surgery is necessary, it will be completed once the doctor has consulted with the owner by telephone.
Some extractions require the use of the high speed dental drill, and gum flaps.
After all treatments are completed, the pet is recovered from anesthesia and monitored for several hours after completion. The I.V. catheter is removed once they appear alert. Only after the pet is fully alert and able to walk well do we discharge them; in most cases they are ready to go by mid- to late-afternoon.
When your pet is discharged, a full report is provided which details the procedure completed and includes thorough instructions on what you may need to do at home and how you can create a routine of home dental care to further extend the benefits of the professional cleaning.
You may select one of several options to aid in your home care program and we will provide the support to establish a healthy and fun routine that will work for your family.
The following day you will be contacted to make sure your pet is doing well and recovering as we expect.