10 Questions you should ask your veterinarian BEFORE a dental cleaning
1. Do you take a full set of digital dental x-rays on EVERY tooth of EVERY patient to identify
disease and infection below the gumline? This is an extremely important diagnostic tool as
up to 80% of the surface of a tooth lies below the gingiva (gumline).
2. Is a dental probing instrument (Michigan probe) used to evaluate the sub-gingival space of
each tooth and measure periodontal pocket depth? Is information obtained via probe (and
x-ray) documented in the patients record with a complete dental chart?
3. Do your veterinarians attend continuing education (CE) courses to expand their knowledge
of current dental techniques and keep up with the newest advances in veterinary dentistry?
4. Does your facility have both a high and low-speed drill to accommodate for all of the needs
created by complex dental cases?
5. Does your facility have the capability to perform light-cured bonded sealants in the event of
6. Do your veterinarians utilize local nerve blocks to attenuate dental pain during extractions
and use bone grafting material to facilitate bone regeneration after complex extractions?
7. Do you place an IV catheter in EVERY patient to ensure quick access to the cardiovascular
system in the event of an emergency and provide adequate fluid therapy during the
procedure? Proper hydration is essential for a quick and safe recovery from anesthesia.
8. What monitoring equipment is used during the anesthetic procedure: pulse-oximetry
(oxygen saturation of blood), blood pressure monitoring, ECG monitoring (to evaluate
cardiac activity), core body temperature, etc.? Also, do you monitor for ETCO2 changes
(capnography): an often overlooked but extremely important parameter that determines
how well a patient is breathing and exchanging gases within the lungs.
9. Is an anesthetic log created with documentation every 5 minutes for monitoring of
anesthesia and included in the patient’s medical record for accountability and evaluation?
This is to be completed by a trained surgical technician during every procedure.
10. Is the veterinarian available by phone and/or in person after-hours for ANY questions or
concerns you might have during the evening and night of the procedure?