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Your Dog’s Dental Cleaning at CAWC

We take you step by step through your dog’s dental cleaning with us!

Hello everyone. It’s Remi here at Continental Animal Wellness Center. Today, we wanted to take you through step by step what a dental cleaning looks like here with us. We know how important your pets are to you. I know, because I’ve got my own at home. I can remember the first time I brought one of them in for a procedure and how I was a little nervous too, especially when I didn’t know what was happening behind the scenes. So here is our way of allowing you to go through that procedure with us.

So let’s take a look:

Hey everybody. It’s Dr. Bruchman. I just wanted to show you guys what a dental looks like in our practice. So when your pets come in for a dental cleaning, we’re going to take you from start to finish today on what they experience here at the clinic. This is my own personal dog, Jamie.

She’s here today for her yearly dental cleaning. So she’s going to be a good sport and just show you what it’s all about today.

Step 1: The Dental Exam

So what we do to start out with is when your pets get dropped off, they first get a full exam. So what we’re going to be doing is listening to their heart, looking at their gums, checking their lung sounds, temperature, just making sure that they are fit for anesthesia. So we’ll go ahead and do that on Jamie here today. We’re going to check her gum color. It looks great. We already took her temperature this morning. We’re going to listen to her heart.

What a great dog. She already got her body weight. And so we basically have had our physical exam once we get all of those parameters going.

Step 2: Placing a Catheter

The next thing that will happen is we are going to get an IV catheter placed in one of her front legs. And we’re going to draw some blood on her this morning to start running on our in-house machine. And we’ll show you what that looks like in a second. We’re making sure, basically, that all of her organs are functioning normally before we place her under anesthesia today. So we’re going to get going on all of that.

You see Jamie’s got a catheter in there. The reason we set IV catheters on all of our anesthetic patients is in order to administer some of our drugs intravenously. We use that catheter for that reason. We also give everybody IV fluids during that procedure. And so we use this catheter to give them the fluids. It’s also great to have a catheter in all animals undergoing anesthesia in order to help us. If there’s any sort of complications that we have while they’re under anesthesia, we can quickly give them drugs to help with that anesthetic event. And so for a safety reason, we always recommend every animal have an IV catheter placed.

Step 3: Blood Test & Anesthesia

Easy peasy. All right. So we got Jamie’s blood pulled. And what we did is we ran it on our in-house analyzer. We’re able to do full CBCs and chemistries here in the clinic. So within 10 minutes, we can get your dog’s blood work pulled up on this screen and ran.

It looks like today, what we’re looking at is Jamie’s glucose, her kidney values, her liver values, some electrolytes, protein levels, all of that looks great. So what that tells me is that Jamie’s healthy, her organs are functioning properly and she’s ready for anesthesia. So we’ll go ahead and get her placed under anesthesia. And then we’ll check back in with you and show you the next process, which will be her dental x-rays and exam.

Step 4: Dental X-Rays

All right. So Jamie is under anesthesia now. What we’re doing is we’re getting our dental x-rays taken. So Kayla’s getting her plates in Jamie’s mouth and getting our tube lined up. She’ll be taking those films for us. It’s just the same equipment that when you go to the dentist, you’re going to be getting the same kind of dental x-rays.

Again, these guys have to be under anesthesia in order to get a proper cleaning and proper x-rays because as you can see, there’s no way a dog would let you open his mouth, stick these nice fragile plates in there and take x-rays with them awake. We’ll also talk about why we need to anesthetize them for the cleaning part in just a second.

Some things that you can notice is Jamie’s got a monitor on her tongue right now. This is measuring her oxygenation and her heart rate for us. So we’re watching that very closely during anesthesia. She also, with that IV catheter we talked about, she’s got IV fluids flowing right now.

And again, if we needed to give her any sort of medications, we can quickly administer that through the catheter. We also have her hooked up to our anesthetic machine. We’re watching her take breaths. We’re monitoring her anesthetic gas through that machine. And then while she’s also in this position, we’ll be going through and cutting all of her nails.

Step 5: Your Dog’s Dental Cleaning

So we’ve finished our x-rays and now we’re moving on to the cleaning process. So over here, Kayla, is scaling Jamie’s teeth. The biggest reason why your pet needs to be under anesthesia for this process is what’s going on right now. The scaling is what is pulling the calculus off of Jamie’s teeth. It is so important to get under that gum line behind the teeth, on the sides of the teeth, every little area on that tooth needs to get cleaned. And there’s no way on an awake dog you can do a thorough job cleaning those teeth.

You can also see that Jamie has a tube protecting her airway right now that she’s breathing through. That tube is so important to protect her airway because as you can see with the cleaning, there’s a lot of water involved. What we’re doing is cleaning off a lot of bacteria on her teeth, and that could be aspirated if she did not have a tube protecting her airway.

So when you do see dogs getting awake dental cleanings, without anesthesia, very commonly, you will see aspiration pneumonia associated with it because they inhale and that water goes into their lungs and sets up an infection, which we want to avoid. So she’s going to continue cleaning. Come with me. We’re going to take a look at her x-rays.

Step 5: Analyze the X-Rays

So Jamie has got all of her x-rays up on the screen. This allows me to quickly take a glance under her gum line. What I’m taking a look at is all of the tooth structures. I’m looking at the pulp cavity. I’m looking at the bone. I’m looking at how those teeth are oriented in her mouth. And so these x-rays are so important for me to help make a diagnosis on what’s going on in your dog’s mouth and identify any teeth that may be causing your dog any sort of pain. Dental x-rays are a wonderful way for us to identify teeth that otherwise may look healthy from the surface, but below the surface, there’s actually something going on. So dental x-rays are a crucial part of what we do. Once I take a look at all of my x-rays, I will then go perform an exam on Jamie’s mouth, which I’ve already done.

I will inspect all of her teeth. I will look at them with my own eyes and see if there’s anything else that x-ray is not picking up that I can identify. We’ll usually take a probe and we will go along all of her teeth and look for any pockets, just the same as when you go to the dentist as well. So all of that will happen at that point. If I identify anything on these x-rays or on Jamie’s exam, that tells me a tooth needs to be extracted, that’s when I would pick up the phone to you, the owner, and call you and say, “Hey, I found under Spot’s exam today that we need to take out two teeth or four teeth,” whatever it is. So that way you’re informed through this whole process on what we’re going to have to do on your pet today. But x-rays, and that exam are such a crucial part to what we’re doing in this dental cleaning today.

Step 6: Polishing Your Dog’s Teeth

So we’re back to Jamie’s cleaning. So now that we’re done with her scaling, Kayla’s going through and polishing all of her teeth. This is an important part to help protect her enamel and seal it. And so we’re carefully going through and polishing all of those teeth. The last part of this cleaning process is going to be applying a fluoride coat to the cleaned teeth in her mouth. And we’ll do that right before we wake Jamie up. So now you’ve seen basically the full process of what it looks like when your dog comes in for a dental cleaning, start to finish.

Conclusion

Regular dental cleanings are a vital part of keeping your pet healthy. If you have ever had a bad tooth, then perhaps you can imagine what they feel when they have one as well. However, buildup of tartar and plaque can also lead to periodontal disease, which can lead to worse conditions, such as contributing to heart, liver and kidney disease. Doing regular dental cleanings and at home dental care, such as teeth brushing and checking the teeth yourself, can help prevent dental disease. We recommend annual checkups to make sure your pet’s teeth are healthy. And one of our doctors will recommend a dental when it is time.

Signs that your pet might need one now could be bad breath, tooth loss, change in chewing habits, or decrease in appetite. If you are ever unsure, just give us a call or set up an appointment. We also have a dental package that includes everything you saw in the video today. This package is listed on our website at mycawc.com. So, we really hope that you enjoyed going through the dental with Jamie today. And we hope to see you all soon.