All pets receiving a wellness exam at our hospital also have a dental checkup and oral exam performed. The veterinarian may then recommend that your pet would benefit from a dental. The veterinarian will then provide a dental treatment estimate that one of our registered veterinary technicians will discuss with you in further detail. But you might be wondering what does it really mean when a veterinarian recommends a "dental"? Who does what during a dental procedure? What are some of the things that make having a dental treatment performed at our hospital unique?
A "dental" is a term used for a treatment procedure where your pet is anesthetized to allow for proper and thorough full examination of the oral cavity and teeth. It also entails cleaning the teeth AND under the gum tissue to remove plaque and tartar (called dental prophylaxis) . One of our registered veterinary technicians will ultrasonically scale and polish your pet's teeth as well as take dental x-rays. Then one of our veterinarians will examine the mouth to assess the grade of periodontal disease present. This includes probing around each tooth looking for abnormal gingival pockets, loose or fractured teeth, abscesses or abnormal masses/tumors. The veterinarian also evaluates the dental x-rays and will perform any surgery or dental extractions needed, including suturing afterwards. Once the dental procedure is finished, the dedicated anesthesia vet tech stays with each patient until they are fully recovered from the anesthetic. Later in the day, the patient will be discharged with any pain medications or antibiotics prescribed as well as written home care instructions from the veterinarian. The discharge is performed by one of our veterinary technicians in person to make sure all instructions are clear, to demonstrate how to give any needed medications and to answer any questions the pet owner may have.
At Wascana Animal Hospital, only the veterinarians perform surgery including any dental extractions. In addition to general anesthesia, if an extraction is required one of our veterinarians will also perform a local nerve block for added pain management. We also have a vet tech that is specifically dedicated to monitoring the anesthesia for each patient throughout surgeries and dentals. This technician focuses solely on the patient's anesthesia while another vet tech or veterinarian is working in the mouth. All of our patients receiving general anesthetic are on intravenous fluids, are kept warm by wrapping in a heated air blanket, and are monitored by cutting edge anesthetic equipment. We take digital dental x-rays of each patient's mouth to make sure that we aren't missing any disease that is happening below the gum line. Any patients who have dental extractions performed are prescribed pain medication to make sure they are comfortable and eating well at home after the dental treatment. All of these things are part of our hospital's standard of care to minimize anesthetic risks for our patients and are what make having a dental treatment at Wascana Animal Hospital unique.