J.C. Hardin, DVM
Anesthesia is always needed for proper dental cleaning. 'Root planing' (subgingival curettage) is the most important component of a dental cleaning. No pet will tolerate this procedure while awake. Anesthesia precautions, as outlined on the estimate, are recommended to help minimize anesthetic risk. We can not determine the extent of dental care needed until your pet is under anesthesia. Extractions of loose, abscessed, or otherwise diseased teeth are often needed. Tooth root gel (e.g. Doxirobe) is often needed for gum recession. Additional costs will incur for extractions and tooth root gel. Pain control is needed after extractions. Nerve blocks are sometimes used before extraction even though the pet is under anesthesia, as this greatly lessens pain once the pet is fully awake again. We work on the presumption that no client would want their pet's teeth cleaned, but leave a heavily diseased tooth in the mouth. It is not practical, nor safe for your pet, for the doctor to prolong your pet's anesthesia just for the purpose of reaching a pet owner by phone to get approval for extraction or tooth root gel. By requesting a dental cleaning, you authorize in advance, the additional charges that may accrue should extractions or tooth root gel be deemed necessary by the attending doctor. An endotracheal tube is always used during dental cleanings. This can cause coughing for a day or two after the cleaning procedure. Pets may be a bit drowsy when going home after a dental cleaning due to residual anesthetic effects and pain medication used. For at least 12 hours, keep children and other pets away from any pet that has returned home after being under anesthesia. For mild oral pain, it is generally safe to apply one application of benzocaine gel (Anbesol or Orajel) to your pet's gums. Never give Tylenol or ibuprofen to pets. Never give aspirin without the doctor's express instructions. If extractions were performed, feed your pet very soft food for the next week. Canned food dry food made soggy with warm water can be fed. If you feed baby food, be sure the product you choose does not contain onion powder. Referral to veterinary dental specialists, or those with special veterinary dental experience for dental x-rays, root canals and other special procedures is sometimes needed. Brushing your pet's teeth two to three times weekly can help delay the need for dental cleanings. Never use fluoride toothpaste - use only enzymatic paste. Your doctor or technician can further explain brushing technique if you are interested.