Dental procedures - what to expect

1st February 2017

Is the dental necessary?

At Bollington Veterinary Centre we can recommend a dental operation for a number of reasons. There may be a specific problem we can see in the mouth which is causing pain and infection, or there may be a general accumulation of tartar which may result in infection around the teeth and gums.

An animal with dental disease is often in considerable discomfort, though many animals seem to put up with this pain and will continue to eat. However we often notice a significant improvement in an animal's appetite and general wellbeing after a dental operation, with their owners commenting on a dramatic change for the good.

Dental disease has also been shown to allow bacteria to travel around the body through the bloodstream and so potentially cause infections elsewhere in the body. Damage to the heart and kidneys are often diagnosed as a result of dental infections.


Why is an anaesthetic necessary for a dental operation?

A general anaesthetic is almost always required for a dental operation to be performed. Without the anaesthetic, your pet wouldn’t stay still long enough for us to clean and polish the teeth. If teeth need removing or drilling, then this would be too painful without the anaesthetic.

You can be assured that we are very experienced with performing dentals and anaesthetics on animals of all ages. We usually offer a pre-anaesthetic blood test to check that all is well with the internal organs. Our clinical team will also use very safe and effective anaesthetic agents, as well as all the available safety monitoring equipment throughout.

If you’re worried about the anaesthetic risks, make sure you mention this to one of our vets. We can talk you through the whole procedure in detail.


Make an appointment to speak to a vet


What happens during a dental procedure?


Your pet will have a pre-medication injection first - this is usually a combination of a sedative and a painkiller. The anaesthetic injections are given into a vein in a front leg. An endotracheal tube is then placed into the windpipe to allow us to connect the gas anaesthetic machine and monitors.

Any large lumps of tartar are removed, then the teeth scaled above and below the gum line using an ultrasonic descaler. We’ll probe the teeth to check for any gaps and pockets in the gum. Sometimes X-rays are used to assess the teeth and the bone surrounding them. This will be familiar to you if you’ve recently visited the dentist yourself.

If we discover diseased or broken teeth we may even have to remove them.


After the dental – what next?

Some animals will need pain relief or antibiotics when they go home – the nurse who discharges your pet will go through this with you. A recheck appointment will be made where your pet’s mouth will be checked. This is an ideal opportunity to ask us any questions that you may have thought of since the dental.

Our highly qualified nurses will be able to go through in detail all aspects of dental care after the operation, including diet, brushing and monitoring.