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Ten Steps to a Complete Oral Health Assessment & Treatment

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  1. Physical Examination. Every animal we see has a mouth examination as part of their general examination. This allows us to check for any obvious signs of oral disease, which we will grade on a scale of 1-4 for the severity of the disease. The physical exam gives us an idea of what will need to be done during the dental procedure, and we can give you an estimate of the total cost.
  2. Pre-operative bloodwork and examination. Any animal that receives general anesthesia at Animal Care Hospital gets a full physical examination, an EKG, and blood tests on the day of their dental to ensure that they are in good health and to decrease the risk of complications.
  3. General Anesthesia. Animal dentistry requires an animal to be under a general anesthetic. The patient is anesthetized and an IV catheter and anesthetic monitors are placed on the patient. Each anesthetic protocol is tailored to the individual animal. A veterinary technician closely monitors the patient while they are under anesthesia and during the dental procedure.
  4. Radiology. We perform x-rays of the teeth for patients undergoing a dental procedure as this is the only way to accurately evaluate the whole tooth. In many cases the crown, or visible part of the tooth, may appear normal but an x-ray would reveal a problem that is not visible and under the gum line.
  5. Scaling. Scaling is the process where the tartar is removed from the teeth. We remove tartar using both an ultrasonic scaler and hand scaling (just like human dental hygienists). Removing tartar is vital to improving the health of the mouth, not to mention is removes the source of your pet's bad breath!
  6. Periodontal Probing and Charting. Once the teeth have been scaled the veterinarian examines each tooth individually with a periodontal probe. We use the probe to look for pockets against the teeth where bacteria and tartar can accumulate, leading to erosion of the tooth socket and eventual loss of the tooth. Small pockets can usually be cleaned and flushed, while deep pockets generally require tooth removal. The combination of radiology and periodontal probing allows us to accurately diagnose any problems with the teeth and formulate a treatment plan.
  7. Extractions. For teeth that cannot be saved, extraction is the only option. We first place a local anesthetic block to numb the tooth so there is no pain involved with the extraction. The next step is to cut a flap into the gum to expose the jaw bone so that a high speed dental drill can cut the tooth into sections for easy removal. Finally, we remove the tooth using elevators, clean the socket, and close the flap. X-rays are taken to ensure complete removal of the affected root.
  8. Polishing and Fluoridation. We polish the teeth after all dental work to remove and micro-etchings on the tooth enamel that will make a good place for bacteria to reattach. When all teeth have been polished, we apply a fluoride gel to the teeth to harden the enamel.
  9. Sealant. Once all scaling, polishing, and treatments are completed we apply ORAVET to the teeth. Your pet's teeth can also be sealed at home as a part of your home dental care routine.
  10. Post Operative Care. We will send home written post operative instructions specifically for your pet. This may include soft food or not brushing their teeth for a few days, and we will discuss home care options designed to reduce the accumulation of tartar on the teeth.