Why does my pet need a dental cleaning?
Pets’ teeth are similar to humans; they build up plaque and tartar quickly, especially since most do not have their teeth brushed. Plaque adheres tightly to the enamel within 24 hours, then tartar builds up and can trap bacteria under the gumline. This can lead to bone loss around the roots and then eventual tooth loss. The cleaning helps clean out below the gumline and try to prevent bone loss; but also during the procedure radiographs are taken of every tooth and an evaluation is made to determine the health of each. Sometimes teeth need to be extracted; these might be “hiding” and not obvious until after the teeth are cleaned and radiographs are taken.
Does my pet need to go under anesthesia?
It is not possible to clean and evaluate the teeth properly without the animal under anesthesia. Radiographs cannot be taken with the animal awake. Trying to do dental cleanings while the animal is awake can lead to injury of the gums. It is not possible to clean under the gumline with the animal awake. We have seen many animals who have had “anesthesia-free” dentistry done many years in a row; then we have to extract many teeth because of problems under the gumline which were previously addressed.
Fear of anesthesia is the number one concern for pet owners. We understand this and we work hard to keep anesthesia safe and as stress free as possible. With our own in-house anesthesiologist on staff, technicians and doctors are trained to use the safest, most effective drug protocols, titrated for each individual patient.
What can I expect during the day of my pet’s dental procedure?
On the morning of the dental procedure, you and your pet will meet with the doctor, who will evaluate the mouth and discuss the day’s plan. You will fill out some forms and then leave your pet with us for the day. The check-in and drop-off process will take about 30 minutes. We try to have your pet ready to go home by 6pm, at the latest. We will call after the procedure is done to let you know how things went with anesthesia, how the teeth looked, and if any extra work is needed. At that time we will let you know when your pet will be ready to go home.
How long will it take my pet to recover from his/her dental procedure?
If the procedure is “routine” with no extra work (such as extractions or gingival surgery), then your pet should recover quite quickly. He/she will be slightly groggy that evening, but should be back to normal by the next day.
If there are extractions or other work, recovery could take longer. You may be instructed to feed a softened diet or give prescribed pain medication. Typically, the mouth heals very quickly. Even with extractions, recovery is usually complete within the week.
Can I discuss costs and procedure expectations with someone before making a decision to schedule my pet’s cleaning?
You are always welcome to call with questions for Dr. Phillip or Dr. McMurphy. You may also email Dr. Phillip with questions.
What days are dentals offered?
Other than the occasional vacation day, we are here Monday-Friday for dental procedures.
How do I schedule an appointment?
You can call and schedule with any client care technician or email Dr. Phillip.
What requirements must be met in order to schedule my pet’s dental?
A pet must have an exam within three months and bloodwork within one month of the dental procedure.