Pets are really good at hiding pain and discomfort - including dental pain. Although your pet may still be eating and drinking, they could be suffering from a dental infection or painful tooth. Often the only indication anything was wrong is when they feel better after they’ve recovered from a dental procedure.
Dental disease has been shown to allow bacteria in to the system and potentially to cause infections elsewhere in the body. More obvious signs that a dental procedure needs to be done include chipped or fractured teeth, gum abscess, stopped eating.
Pets, like people, suffer from periodontal disease, which is responsible for oral inflammation and infection. Periodontal disease includes gingivitis (inflammation visible as reddening of the gums), and periodontitis (the loss of bone and soft tissue support from around the teeth). All of these things could make your pet a good candidate for a dental procedure.
Step 1: Dental Exam
If you suspect your pet needs a dental procedure, you can call and schedule an appointment with the doctor specifically to discuss their oral health. Our doctor also does an oral check during your annual wellness exam as part of the routine nose-to-tail exam they do. Then the doctor will discuss what your pet may or may not need, and will give you a cost estimate based on what they see during the exam. It can be very difficult to see everything, so there may be a change (more or less) that the doctor and technician find on day of the surgery.
Step 2: The Procedure
You will bring your pet in the day of surgery fasted - no food or drink from 11 pm the night before until your bring them in - unless the doctor or technician has told you otherwise. Your pet will be weighed, and placed in one of our kennels. Bloodwork (if requested) and a pre-anesthetic exam will be done by the Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) overseeing the surgery. Once safely under anesthetic, they will have a full dental examination looking at every tooth above and below the gumline (dental x-rays). Then any extractions, cleaning and polishing will be done. Your pet will be monitored by the RVT overseeing the procedure for the rest of the day until they go home. The doctor or RVT will call you once your pet is out of surgery to give you an update and confirm the pick up time.
Step 3: Home
When you arrive at the pick up time the doctor will go over everything done and answer any questions. This is when she will discuss with you feeding directions, medications and timelines as well as things to keep an eye out for. The doctor or technician will call you the next day to see how the first night at home went. Two weeks after the surgery, we will have you back for a quick recheck to make sure everything is healing well.
Below are photos of a mouth before and after a dental procedure done by our doctor. That dog's breath was so much better after their surgery!