Dental Procedures

Dental Procedures


Periodontal disease is the most common disease in dogs and cats.

The disease can result in pain, bad breath, loose teeth, irreversible damage to the gums, premature loss of teeth, and infection that may affect other organs.

As always, our treatment recommendations and protocols are customized by the patient, but this content will give you a broad overview of helpful information.

Before the Operation

Step 1: Preoperative Physical and Intraoral Examination

  • We are committed to your pet’s overall oral health.
  • We will begin with a physical examination to understand your pet’s overall health, then we will perform an awake oral exam.
  • We will look for missing teeth, fractured teeth, worn teeth, mobile teeth, tooth resorption and other signs of potential oral discomfort.

Step 2: Preoperative Bloodwork

  • Depending on our physical exam findings we will recommend preoperative bloodwork.
  • Other tests can also be completed with your family veterinarian prior to your pet’s dentistry procedure.

Step 3: Preoperative Antibiotics

  • Depending on the overall health of your pet, preoperative oral antibiotics or an antibiotic injection may be indicated on the day of the procedure.
  • If your pet is healthy, it will be able to handle the bacteria that might be released from the tartar during its dentistry procedure.
  • If your pet has severe periodontal disease, pre-existing heart, liver/kidney disease or is immune-compromised then our doctors may elect to use antibiotics prior to their dentistry procedure.

Step 4: Preemptive Multimodal Pain Management

  • Before the procedure they will be given drugs that will provide pain relief during their procedure and will help to sedate them. The drugs allow us to use less inhalant anesthesia on your pet during the procedure.


Step 1: Placement of IV Catheter

  • General anesthesia is required to enable us to complete the procedure and allow us to do a thorough examination of your pet’s teeth.
  • First, we will place an intravenous catheter into your pet. We will have to shave a small part of your pet’s leg for this.

Step 2: Intravenous Fluids

  • Your pet will now be put on intravenous fluids. Intravenous fluids are administered during anesthesia to stabilize blood pressure and protect your pet’s organ function.
  • These will be delivered at a specific rate by flowing through an IV fluid pump.

Step 3: General Anesthesia

  • A tube is placed in the airway so the gas anesthetic machine can be connected. Your pet will breathe in oxygen mixed with gas anesthesia. During the procedure, we will make continuous adjustments to ensure the proper depth of anesthesia.

Step 4: Anesthetic Monitoring

  • We will monitor your pet’s heart rate and rhythm with an EKG.
  • The amount of oxygen in their red blood cells will be monitored with a pulse oximeter.
  • We will also monitor blood pressure, the amount of carbon dioxide they are breathing out, breathing rate and body temperature.

Step 5: Technician Monitoring During Anesthesia

  • There is a technician that will be dedicated to monitoring your pet while they are under general anesthesia.
  • They will also regularly check pulse quality, listen to the heart and adjust the anesthesia as needed.
  • A warming device will assist in keeping their body temperature normal during anesthesia.

Step 6: Local Anesthetic Nerve Blocks

  • We utilize local anesthetic nerve blocks for our patients having periodontal surgery or oral surgery.

During the Procedure

Step 1: Dentistry and Oral Surgery Instruments

  • Every pet will have its own sterilized dentistry and oral surgery pack for the procedure.

Step 2: Rinse with Chlorhexidine

  • Your pet’s mouth will be rinsed with chlorhexidine. This will decrease the bacterial load on the patient’s teeth and the staff working on your pet.

Step 3: Supragingival Scaling

  • Removal of the plaque and calculus on the crown surfaces of all of the teeth. The ultrasonic scaler is used to remove plaque and tartar.

Step 4: Subgingival Scaling

  • Ultrasonic scaler and hand instruments, curettes, remove the plaque and calculus subgingival. Periodontal disease is caused by subgingival plaque and tartar.

Step 5: Polishing

  • Polishing all of the teeth will remove the imperfections in the enamel. These imperfections were created while the supragingival and subgingival scaling was performed in the last step.

Step 6: Probing and Charting

  • A probe is used to evaluate 4 to 6 locations around each tooth to find ‘pockets’, areas of attachment loss. This will indicate if your pet has periodontal disease. Normal pocket depth in a dog is usually less than 3mm and in a cat is usually less than 0.5 – 1mm.
  • The teeth are also examined for fractures, wear, mobility and tooth resorption.
  • Then, a dental chart is completed for your pet.

Step 7: Intraoral Radiographs, aka X-rays

  • These X-rays are the only way that we can evaluate the root structure under the gum tissue. These are required to properly diagnose and treat oral disease. Based on a combination of the x-rays, oral exam, probing and charting the veterinarian will determine an appropriate treatment plan.

Step 8: Oral Surgery Site

  • Dissolvable stitches are placed in the oral surgery site.

After The Operation

Postoperative Care

  • Your pet is carefully monitored during their recovery. They will be in a warm cage on blankets until they can stand on their own and go home.
  • With oral surgery, we provide a complimentary two-week recheck examination for your pet. Our doctors will examine their oral surgery sites and ensure everything is healing properly.

Care At Home


  • Remember that the success of your pet’s dentistry procedure depends on the degree of plaque control between your pet’s visits. Make sure to brush daily and use products accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council ( If you need help, please ask one of our team members to help you customize the best care for your pet teeth.
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