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Pet Dental Cleanings: The Importance of Anesthesia

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal, DVM

Dr. Rick Coufal is the founder and lead veterinarian for Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic. Coufal graduated from State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in May of 2000.

Whether we do it or not, every year we should be venturing to the dentist’s office and receiving our dental check-ups. While you have a say in whether you go, your pet does not.

Dogs and cats alike can fall victim to many types of dental problems that can arise, and a lot of these things cannot be detected without dental cleanings. While this next part may sound intimidating, it is important to make sure that your pet’s dental cleanings are not anesthesia-free.

Read to learn more about Pet Dental Care and how to prevent future dental problems:

Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic strives to be the best vet for dental care in Colorado Springs and so we know that your pet’s safety is the most important thing to you. We understand that the idea of putting your furry friend under for a dental cleaning might sound scary, but we make sure to follow all industry guidelines set by the AAHA to make certain that their anesthesia dog or cat teeth cleaning is safe and everything runs smoothly.

The AAHA standards are specifically designed with your pets’ dental care and health best interests in mind. It can be a traumatizing experience for your pet when it comes to dental cleanings without being anesthetized, so AAHA has made sure to set guidelines to make sure the process is as safe as possible, and Ponderosa Vet Clinic never fails to follow these guidelines.

graphic showing anesthesized dental cleaning

Benefits of Anesthetized Pet Dental Cleanings

Without anesthetizing your pet for a dental cleaning or procedure, their experience can be traumatizing. Much like a dentist visit isn’t your favorite time of year, your pet will not understand what is happening to them. Anesthesia-free dental cleaning means your pet is awake the entire time.

There are bright lights flashing on their face, people poking and prodding their mouths, and without an understanding of what is happening, they will be scared and nervous. Anesthetizing your pet beforehand comes with many benefits, including:

  • Comfort – when anesthetized, your pet can be calm and relaxed during the process.
  • Efficiency  – Under anesthesia, dental x-rays can be taken when your pet is in a stable position, ensuring a clear image. This is an important process because the x-rays will be able to show us what we aren’t able to see on the surface.
  • Thoroughness – If your pet is anesthetized, we will be able to do tartar scaling which means we scrape above and below the gum to remove tartar build-up. We will also be able to find dental diseases that your pet may be enduring.

What to Expect During an Anesthetized Dental Cleaning for Pets

At Ponderosa Vet Clinic in Colorado Springs, we understand how scary anesthetizing your animal may be for you. At Ponderosa Vet Clinic in Colorado Springs, we understand how scary anesthetizing your animal may be for you. Because of this, we want to ensure that you know the steps we take, the guidelines set by the AAHA, to put your mind at ease during the process.

1. Blood Work

To determine the appropriate anesthetic protocol for your pet, we complete blood work prior to the procedure. With these results, we are able to ensure your pet’s organs are healthy and able to handle the process.

2. Administering Anesthesia

Once the blood work is complete, we prepare to anesthetize your pet by inserting a precautionary IV catheter and breathing tube. Your pet will then be put under anesthesia, and during the procedure, we will have a technician who will constantly check and monitor your pet’s vitals. Some vitals that will be tracked during your pet’s anesthetized dental cleaning include:

  • Temperature
  • Heart Rate & Rhythm
  • Blood Oxygen Levels
  • Respiratory Rate
  • Blood Pressure

By monitoring these vital signs throughout the teeth cleaning, we will be able to make sure their body is maintaining appropriate vitals to handle the procedure.

3. Dental X-Rays

While your pet is under anesthesia, we will take digital x-rays to check for underlying issues. According to the AAHA, “Since 60% of a tooth is below the gum-line, problems such as retained roots, root fractures, and periodontal disease can only be detected on radiographs.”

4. Treatment of Diseased Teeth

If we identify any issues, we will determine the best option for treatment, whether that be specific hygienic care or tooth extraction.

5. Teeth Cleaning

After inspecting your pet’s oral health, we will begin the cleaning. In this step, we will be able to remove all of the plaque and tartar that have accumulated over time.

Note: Depending on your pet’s existing dental condition, the overall procedure will take 1 to 2 hours. Generally, your pet will be anesthetized for 60 to 95 minutes, and the cleaning will take 45 to 75 minutes.

What to Expect Following an Anesthetized Dental Cleaning

Following the procedure, your pet will start to recover about 15 minutes or so afterward. They will be safely resting for a few hours afterward and will go home with you the same day.

Once your pet is stable and ready to go home they will need a few hours to get back to normal. After a few hours of rest, they are typically ready to run and play. They will be happy and have healthy clean teeth. Similar to when you go to the dentist, you may feel a little more tired than normal, but this effect wears off quickly allowing you to carry on with your day.

Anesthetized Pets Dental Cleanings | Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic

At Ponderosa Veterinary Clinic, we are committed to providing exceptional care for the pets of Colorado Springs. Our compassionate team wants to make sure that every visit, including dental cleanings, can be as enjoyable as possible. If you have questions about anesthetized pet dental cleanings, don’t hesitate to reach out.

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