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Dental Cleaning comes with Minimal Anesthetic Risks

Dental Cleaning comes with Minimal Anesthetic Risks

by Dr. Carla Case-... on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 1:35pm




Submitted by Lisa A. Yackel, PHR, CVPM


Hospital Administrator at Case Veterinary Hospital


As we closed our books on February, we took a look at the number of teeth cleanings we did for the month.  February is National Dental Month for those in the veterinary community and it is always interesting how increasing awareness on a national level exposes clients to more information to make informed decisions when it comes to their pet’s care.


In reviewing our numbers, I pondered on why, after over two decades of this campaign, veterinarians still aren’t seeing patient dental care improving.  In our hospital, the teeth are evaluated at every physical exam and discussed, so I know that awareness is high in our own clients.  What I have concluded as the barrier are two things:  fear of anesthesia and price.  


We all know that there can be complications anytime anesthesia is used.  What I would like to convey to you in this blog is that these complications are rare.  At Case Veterinary Hospital, we diligently do all that we can to minimize potential problems and ensure the wellbeing of our patients.  As a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, we have numerous protocols in place to monitor our patients. For example:


  • We run pre-anesthetic lab work so we can make sure there are no underlying problems or infections going on with the patient. 

  • We do a thorough physical exam right before anesthetizing the patient. 

  • We use monitoring equipment to ensure the pet is oxygenated and has a good heart rate. 

  •  We have a trained technician assigned to the patient the entire time the surgery or dentistry is being performed.  

  • We use heated air and devices to make sure the pet’s body temperature doesn’t drop during the procedure.

  • We use anesthetic drugs and agents that have been proven to be the safest available.

  • We now that a large percentage of adverse reactions occur during recovery, so we monitor our patients in our treatment area to be able to observe and take care of any problem they might be experiencing.


Dental disease can be life-threatening.   As with all preventative care for your pet, the costs of the procedures and medications can seem high, but the cost of treating the disease or problem are substantially higher and much more detrimental to your pet’s health.  The anesthesia part of the teeth cleaning actually accounts for 65% of the cost of a dental.  Taking shortcuts to lower the cost, however, is not something we feel comfortable with.  You have entrusted us with your pet’s life and we will take every reasonable precaution to minimize the risks from anesthesia.    Be sure to talk to your veterinarian about your concerns and what is involved in the teeth cleaning and anesthesia.  Misinformation could be preventing your pet from having a perfect bill of health.   


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