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A healthy mouth plays a vital role in the well-being of both humans and animals. In veterinary medicine, ensuring proper dental care for your dog or cat will help maintain their health, prevent dental related diseases, as well as promote their longevity. One of the most important aspects of professional teeth cleanings and treatments for dogs and cats is the appropriate use of anesthesia. Anesthesia ensures your pet gets thorough, effective, and safe treatments. 

dental with ACThe "Root" of the Issue: Patient Safety 

The use of anesthesia in veterinary dental procedures is a key factor in patient safety and comfort. Professional teeth cleanings and treatments can include scaling, polishing, and extractions. Anesthesia eliminates the opportunity of stress and anxiety that would occur if the patient remained awake. Because dental tartar is cemented on the teeth, a scaling device is used to remove it. This requires the patient to remain immobile during the procedure. A slight movement by the patient can cause damage to the gum tissue, resulting in pain. In turn, a patient could react and cause harm to those treating the pet. Another aspect to consider is that the majority of dental disease is below the gumline. Delicate movements are required to scale then probe each individual tooth. In human dental care, we understand and cooperate for these procedures. It would not be safe or ethical to complete these tasks on a dog or cat unless the patient has the benefits of anesthesia. 

Dental radiographInhalation anesthesia, using a cuffed endotracheal tube, provides many advantages to patient safety. Not only does it provide immobilization of the patient for safe and effective cleaning, treatments, and pain management, but the cuffed endotracheal tube protects your pets airway. If they are awake, there is concern for inhaling water (aspiration) which can lead to complications for your pet. This fluid is filled with bacteria and can result in severe lung infections

Though putting your pet under anesthesia can feel dangerous, we do everything in our ability to make it as safe as possible. Before every surgery in our clinics, we require pre-anesthetic or pre-surgical blood work. This allows our doctors to have an inside look at your pet's internal body function to make sure they have the ability to process the anesthetic medications and heal. The day of the procedure, every patient receives an additional pre-surgical exam. An IV (intravenous) catheter is placed in every patient prior to surgery. Having IV access is key to maintaining hydration with fluids as well as administering any medications they may need before, during, or after the procedure. A Registered Veterinary Technician is monitoring them the entire time.  The RVT monitors vitals including oxygen, blood pressure, ECG, among others and adjusts the amount of inhalent anesthesia based on these findings. Temperature is also evaluated and warming devices are used when appropriate. Your pet's well-being is our top priority and we are proud of the thoroughness and tailoring of our surgical and anesthetic protocol for your pet. While there is alwas a risk with anesthesia, we do everthing in our ability to reduce this risk while providing safe professional teeth cleaning procedures.

Dental before and after

For more information, please visit the American Veterinary Dental College regarding this topic.