Dental Surgery Details

Your Pet’s Dental Surgery

On the day of your pet’s dental procedure he should not eat breakfast or drink water after midnight.

You will drop him off at the clinic between 8:00 and 8:30 am. At drop-off you will be asked to sign a consent form. This form will state the procedures planned for your pet, and will ask for a phone number where you can be reached so that we may contact you after the dental procedure to give you an update.

Your pet will then be weighed and placed in a surgery kennel upstairs. Blood will be drawn and a Complete Blood Count, Chemistry and electrolytes will be run. This information is used to determine if your pet has any anesthetic risks, if he needs a specialized anesthetic drug protocol and what kind of IV fluid support he needs during surgery to maintain his blood pressure during the procedure.

Most pets will have an IV catheter placed to receive these fluids during surgery. If so, your pet will have his leg shaved and prepped to have the catheter placed. It will be removed prior to being sent home.

Once all of this is done, your pet will “pre-medded”. This means he will receive an injection of a sedative and a pain medication. This is given approximately 30-60 minutes prior to the start of surgery so it is working by the start of surgery.

At dental time, your pet will be brought to the dental suite. He will be given an injection into the catheter to make him fall asleep. This is called “induction”. The injection induces an anesthetic (sleep) state. A breathing tube is passed through his mouth and into his trachea, which is then connected to the ventilator and anesthesia machine to deliver oxygen and anesthetic gases to maintain the sleep state. This tube also functions to prevent saliva and anything else from passing into the lungs.

At the same time, he is being hooked up to clips to monitor his heart. A blood pressure cuff is placed on a limb or tail, a Doppler may be placed on a limb or tail, and a thermometer is inserted rectally. Pulse oximetry is either inserted rectally or a clip is placed on the tongue

Your pet is then placed on her belly for X-rays. A small, yet expensive, plate is placed into your pet’s mouth to receive the X-ray. is just like X-rays taken at your dentist’s office. In dogs we look mostly at the tooth roots, where infections and periodontitis occur. We also look for broken crowns, abnormal pulp cavities and disease of the bone. Odontoclastic resorptive lesions, or cervical line lesions, are more common in the cat. This occurs when the enamel is resorbed and the tooth becomes extremely sensitive and painful. Cats also suffer from periodontitis and the occasional broken tooth. Radiographs are required to make most of these diagnoses. For this reason we often don’t know which or how many teeth will need to be extracted until after we view the radiographs.

Teeth are then extracted and the sites are usually sutured closed. For pain control we often use additional injections, nerve blocks and medications to go home. Once we extract a tooth or make an incision in an oral cavity we also will often need antibiotics to either treat or prevent infection.

After X-rays and extractions, if needed, your pet’s teeth are then ultrasonically scaled to remove tartar. Following that, her teeth are polished using a paste to buff out the fine scratches and irregularities on the tooth’s surface so that tartar doesn’t have anything to build onto. This helps to slow the redevelopment of tartar after the cleaning.

After the procedure is finished, your pet will stay connected to the monitor until we are certain he is breathing on his own. His endotracheal tube is pulled once he is swallowing and has control of his tongue. He is then moved to his kennel in the surgery prep room where he recovers on a heating pad, wrapped in blankets and monitored by his technician.

Once up and walking, the catheter is removed form her leg and she is ready to be discharged to finish recovering from anesthesia at home with her family.

After a good cleaning we recommend regular preventive dental care to prevent the development of tartar. This includes brushing your pet’s teeth, dental chews such as Oravet and CET, oral rinses and drinking water additives.


For questions or concerns about your pet’s surgery, please contact us by phone or using the button below. Please try to contact us at least 24 hours before your pet is scheduled for surgery.