Dental Cleanings Under Anesthesia


Dental Cleanings Under Anesthesia

If our veterinarians have recommended a dental cleaning under anesthesia for your pet – then this blog is for you! Maybe your pet has had a number of anesthetic dental cleanings over the years and you are well-versed in what to expect. Or, maybe this is the first time you have heard this recommendation for your pet. Perhaps you have heard the recommendation numerous times, but you have not yet felt comfortable enough to move forward with the procedure. Well, let’s talk a little more about what you can expect during an anesthetic dental cleaning. Hopefully, you will see the importance of following through with the recommendation, and you will understand how we strive to take excellent care of your pet while they are in the clinic for the procedure.

Before we jump into the details of an anesthetic dental cleaning, let’s be sure you are aware of what brings us to making the recommendation for a specific pet. For many pets with little to no dental health changes, home dental care options can be a great way to address oral health. Once our veterinarians see progression of dental disease (excessive plaque accumulation, gingivitis, halitosis, or evidence of oral infections, to name a few), we believe it is important to consider having a dental prophylaxis performed under anesthesia. Addressing dental changes such as these will not only help your pet’s mouth feel great, it can also minimize or prevent more aggressive dental changes from occurring (such as dental bone loss, needing dental extractions, etc.). Left untreated, dental disease has the potential to cause problems in other areas of the body, such as the heart or kidneys (learn more about dental disease here).

So let’s talk about how the day will go when your pet comes in for his or her dental cleaning.

  • Your pet will need to be dropped off at the clinic between 7:00 and 8:30 AM on the morning of the procedure.
  • Your pet should have been fasted overnight.
  • Our staff will talk with you at drop off to go over important information and allow you an opportunity to ask any questions. Be sure to notify our staff about any medication(s) your pet is currently receiving. We want you to feel as comfortable and informed as possible about how we will be caring for your pet.
  • ​The doctor will give your pet a full pre-anesthetic examination to make sure your pet seems fit for anesthesia. The doctor will also review any labwork prior to anesthesia.
  • All dental patients will receive an intravenous catheter.
  • ​Intravenous fluids may be recommended for your pet. Intravenous fluids can help support the heart and kidney function in an anesthetized patient. Intravenous fluids also help to clear anesthetic drugs more quickly, allowing your pet to have a smooth and safe recovery. 
  • ​During the procedure, we will make every effort to keep your pet safe and comfortable through careful anesthetic monitoring and pre-emptive pain control. 
  • Your pet’s teeth will be scaled and polished. The mouth, teeth and gums will be examined carefully to make sure there are no signs of problems.
  • Dental radiographs may also be performed. These radiographs can give us a large amount of information about what is occurring under the gumline. These radiographs can help guide decisions about whether a tooth needs to be extracted. Learn more about tooth extractions here.
  • After the procedure, your pet’s recovery from anesthesia will be monitored carefully.
  • All pets go home later the same day. At discharge, our staff will review the outcomes of the procedure and give you recommendations and resources to help keep your pet’s mouth looking great.

Check out these ‘before cleaning’ and ‘after cleaning’ pictures of a dog’s mouth:

Do you have further questions about dental cleanings under anesthesia? Then give us a call today – we are more than happy to discuss this important procedure with you. Is it time to schedule your pet’s dental cleaning? Don’t forget, we are offering 20% off all dental cleanings during the month of February in honor of National Pet Dental Health Month.

Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS