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?”.
After the patient has been evaluated and the history assessed, pre-anesthetic medications are individually calculated and tailored for each individual’s needs by Dr. Woodward. 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.
As soon as anesthesia is induced, a breathing tube is placed and the patient is started on gas anesthetic agents to maintain anesthesia. Monitoring equipment, including pulse oximetry (oxygenation monitor), EKG, and two different types of blood pressure measurements 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 Dr. Woodward is always within a few feet of 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, rinsed, polished, and treated with fluoride, Dr. Woodward examines every part of the patient’s mouth and any abnormalities are noted on the dental chart. Any radiographs of abnormal areas are taken, and the owner is contacted with his 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.
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.
At discharge, all 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 every dental X-ray taken of your pet on a flat screen monitor in the exam room. Any questions you might have will be answered prior to discharge.
Most patients are scheduled for a free re-check exam as appropriate. We also take the time to demonstrate your home care options on your own pet. At any time before or after your pet’s care, you are welcome to call with any questions you might have.
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.