Your pet’s teeth need cleaning, but you haven’t scheduled the procedure yet. Maybe you are afraid of pet anesthesia, or you feel your pet’s teeth aren’t “that” important. Many people know from experience how tooth and gum problems make life miserable, and the same goes for their pets. Pets require anesthesia for a dental cleaning, which concerns many pet owners, but the truth is, modern pet anesthesia is safe and effective. Read on to learn about Tamberly Animal Hospital’s custom-designed support and monitoring procedures for pet dental cleanings, and how we provide the best for your pet.

Pet pre-anesthetic tests

Before your pet’s dental procedure, we perform a pre-anesthetic physical exam, blood work, and urinalysis. Our team gathers information on your pet’s heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, and red and white blood cells. If our findings suggest that your pet should do well under anesthesia, we design a custom plan tailored to meet your pet’s needs. Younger pets, older pets, or anxious pets each require a different approach, but we have the knowledge and experience to make dental procedures safe for pets with special medical conditions, such as diabetes. Pre-anesthetic testing is a crucial step in making dentistry safe for your pet.

Pet premedication

Before we start the anesthesia, we give your pet medication to help ensure a smooth and safe procedure. We administer a calming sedative that allows stress-free placement of an intravenous catheter (IV). Anti-pain medication is given before, during, and after the procedure, to lower your pet’s overall pain response. We give each pet Cerenia, an anti-nausea medication, to block any queasiness—decreasing the chance of vomiting means safer pet anesthesia. Pets are always fasted—from food, not from water—because an empty stomach helps prevent anesthesia complications. Therefore, we often administer glucose to smaller pets to prevent hypoglycemia (i.e., low blood sugar). Thermal support with blankets and heating pads begins as soon as your pet is premedicated. A team member is assigned to monitor your pet throughout the procedure, from pre-medication to recovery. That veterinary technician is entirely focused on your pet, with no other duties but to ensure the highest level of care and safety.

Pet general anesthesia

When your pet is relaxed and ready, we induce general anesthesia, using the safest modern inhalant pet anesthesia. Your pet’s airway is secured throughout the procedure with a breathing tube. We carefully monitor, both electronically and manually, your pet’s heart rate, EKG, blood pressure, temperature, and breathing. If your pet’s technician notes any trend toward a problem, such as low heart rate, low blood pressure, or low body temperature, they immediately alert the veterinarian, who takes corrective measures to avert the problem. The IV already in place allows easy access for medication administration or fluid support adjustment. Modern pet general anesthesia with dedicated monitoring allows your pet to safely receive the dental care they need without pain, stress, or anxiety.

Pet teeth cleaning, polishing, and procedures

Next, since your pet is anesthetized, we can fully clean all sides of each tooth, and scale and polish the entire tooth, above and below the gum line. We probe and measure any periodontal pockets as we scale and polish below the gum line, which allows us to treat and prevent pet periodontal disease, a common disease in pets that causes mouth pain, tooth loss, jaw bone loss, and jaw bone fractures. We carefully polish each tooth to create a smooth surface that is less inviting for plaque formation.

The Tamberly Animal Hospital team will also perform digital dental X-rays, which provide a view of all teeth underneath the gum line, as well as problems that may be hidden from the eye. We may call during the procedure to recommend tooth extraction or other dental procedures, if our cleaning or X-rays reveal a pain-causing problem. If extractions or other procedures are required, we will use local numbing to add to your pet’s pain prevention. Pets who have not had regular dental care commonly need multiple extractions. After eating soft food for a couple of weeks as they heal, these pets can eat dry kibble with no problem, and they experience many health benefits once the problematic teeth are gone. 

Pet recovery and continued care

  1. After the dental cleaning is complete, your pet’s dedicated technician closely monitors every step of your pet’s anesthesia recovery. The use of pain medication, blankets, and warming devices ensure your pet’s comfort. We carefully watch your pet’s breathing as they wake up, and as we remove the breathing tube. No anesthetic procedure is completely without risk, but our dedication to the most advanced protocols means that our team offers the safest dental cleaning possible for your pet.

Call the caring team at Tamberly Animal Hospital to schedule a pet oral health evaluation. We will “lift the lip” and assess your pet’s dental status. Together, we will provide everything your pet needs for a safe and successful dental cleaning. Let go of your fear—the best pet dental team is here!