August 6, 2010

Dog & Cat Teeth Cleaning Procedure

There is really no “typical cleaning”, as most of the patients we see have individual needs and problems, but the following summary is fairly typical. For additional information, see the FAQ section for “What are the steps involved with a proper dental cleaning procedure?”.

Sophisticated patient support equipment is used on every patient.

Dental radiographs are obtained after the patient is anesthetized.


After the patient has been evaluated and the history assessed, pre-anesthetic medications are and tailored for each individual’s needs by the doctor. This critical function is not left to a non-doctor staff member. There is no such thing as “standard” anesthesia at our practice. Around 1/2 hour after the pre-anesthetic medications are administered, an IV catheter is placed, and fluids are administered as anesthesia is induced. IV fluids greatly improve the safety of anesthesia, help to maintain blood pressure and kidney function, and prevent post-operative dehydration. In addition, if there was a problem, the IV line allows for rapid treatment. All patients anesthetized at Montana Pet Dentistry and Oral Surgery receive IV fluids.

Digital technology allows for rapid viewing of dental films, minimizing anesthetic times.

State of the art monitors continually record and display blood pressure, EKG, blood oxygen levels, end tidal CO2 levels and body temperature.


As soon as anesthesia is induced, a breathing tube is placed and the patient is started on gas anesthetic agents to maintain anesthesia. We use more than one type of gas anesthetic agent and choose depending on each patient’s individual needs. The anesthetic monitoring equipment described above are then placed on the patient. The eyes are lubricated to prevent dryness, and warming air blankets and water blankets are placed around your pet. An IV fluid warmer is also used to help maintain normal body temperature. Anesthetic monitoring is constant during the procedure and the doctor is always close to every anesthetized patient. The patient’s face and eyes are always covered with a towel to prevent contamination, and gauze is placed in the back of the mouth to catch debris and fluid. All patients lay on and are covered by clean dry towels.

After the teeth are thoroughly cleaned, polished and rinsed, the doctor examines every part of the patient’s mouth and any abnormalities are noted on the dental chart. Full-mouth dental radiographs are then obtained and the owner is contacted with the findings. Any recommended treatment is explained to the owner, along with the costs for that treatment. In most cases, any required treatment can be performed at the same time as the cleaning.

Dr. Woodward does a detailed oral exam on every patient.

Dental radiographs are always employed to evaluate the extent of disease and possible treatment options.


All patients are closely monitored as they wake up, with most patients standing within a few minutes of completing the procedure. Pain management includes medications before, during, and after the procedure, as well as local nerve blocks as indicated. We do not want your pet to wake up with any pain and we take a very proactive approach to making each pet comfortable.

At discharge, your instructions are written out and fully explained. Pictures of your pet’s procedure are taken and printed out for your reference. You will be shown multiple pictures of your pet’s procedure and dental X-rays. Any questions you might have will be answered prior to discharge. Our goal is for you to totally understand what procedures were done on your pet and why they were done.

Dental magnifying loupes allow detailed assessment of dental health.

Finally, we will advise you of when your pet should be examined again. We will then call to remind you when any further care might be required.