Dental Preparation Instructions:

Your pet will need to be fasted. No food or snacks after 8 pm the night before their procedure. This includes no breakfast the morning of the procedure. Your pet may have water overnight, but first thing in the morning, take the water away.

Dental FAQs

1) Can my pet have food or water?
2) What do I need to bring the morning of my appt?
3) What time do I need to be there in the morning?
4) What happens during a dental assessment and cleaning?
5) What is the point of full mouth x-rays?
6) Will my pet need bloodwork?
7) How long will the procedure take?
8) Will my pet be monitored during surgery?
9) What pain medications are used?
10) Will my pet have an IV catheter?
11) Why are dentals so expensive?
12) What is a dental consultation?
13) Is a dental really necessary?
14) When should I plan on picking my pet up?
15) Will I have to give my pet pain medication?
16) Can my pet play with toys after extractions?
17) What can my pet eat after extractions?
18) Are there any side effects from anesthesia?
19) How soon after a dental or extractions can my pet eat?
20) Will my pet have stitches in their mouth after extractions?
21) If my pet has stitches in the mouth, will they need to be taken out?
22) Will my pet need to come back for recheck or stitch removal?

For further information, read our article on Anesthesia Safety.

1) Can my pet have food or water?
No, your pet must be fasted. No food or snacks starting at 8 pm the night prior to their procedure. Water is OK overnight, but
needs to be taken away when you wake up the morning of the procedure.
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2) What do I need to bring the morning of my appointment?
a. Pre-Surgical History Form (put link on this)
b. Dogs must be on a leash
c. Cats must be in a carrier
d. If you are a new client or have a new pet, bring in vaccination history.
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3) What time do I need to be there in the morning?
Typical time for surgery admission is 8 am. Please call or e-mail us for the exact time of your admission appointment. Please allow 15 minutes for the appointment. If you are a new client or have a new pet, the Doctor will do an annual exam and dental consultation (if not already performed) the morning of the dental. You will need to stay for this.
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4) What happens during a dental assessment and cleaning?
Your pet will be put under general anesthesia for this procedure. All the teeth will be examined and probed (checking for infection). We record any abnormalities seen. Full mouth x-rays will be performed on all cats and dogs. The teeth are then cleaned and polished the same way it is done at a human dentist!
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5) What is the point of full mouth x-rays?
We follow the American Animal Hospital Association dental care guidelines for dogs and cats, which recommend full mouth x-rays on all animals. X-rays allow us to see what is going on below the gum-line. A tooth can look perfectly normal, but the xray may show a diseased tooth. In one study, dental x-rays revealed dental disease in 27.8% of dogs and 41.7% of cats, who had no evidence of disease on the oral exam.
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6) Will my pet need bloodwork?
It is good medical practice to perform pre-operative blood work to assess major organ function and check for other blood abnormalities prior to anesthesia in all pets.

If your pet is under the age of 8, bloodwork is recommended, but is not mandatory. A physical exam will be performed on your pet prior to the procedure, but this will not identify internal problems.

If your pet is over the age of 8, bloodwork is required. If a problem is noted on the bloodwork, we are able to change our protocol to better suit your pet or your pet’s procedure may be postponed.
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7) How long will the procedure take?
The dental cleaning and assessment usually takes about 1 hour. Extractions may take an additional 2 – 4 hours. If a lot of extractions are required, your pet may have to come back another day to finish the extractions.
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8) Will my pet be monitored during surgery?
Yes, all pets who are put under general anesthesia are hooked up to a machine similar to the ones seen in human hospitals. Our trained staff monitor your pet’s EKG, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, temperature, and exhaled carbon dioxide levels.
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9) What pain medications are used?
We use Schedule II narcotics, which are the most potent drugs available for the control of acute pain. As part of our protocol we use a multi-modal approach to pain relief. It has been shown that using combinations of different pain drugs is more
effective than just using one.
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10) Will my pet have an IV catheter?
Yes, no anesthesia is without risk and if problems arise it is important to be able to give rescue drugs immediately without having to search for a vein. Your pet will also be placed on IV fluids which is vital in maintaining blood pressure during surgery.
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11) Why are dentals so expensive?
Pets have to be put under general anesthesia to get their teeth cleaned. The cost of the anesthesia, the medications we use for pain, the monitoring equipment, and the time it takes to clean and extract teeth drive up the cost. Extractions are complicated procedures. Please call to schedule a free dental consultation.
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12) What is a dental consultation?
A dental consultation is an exam that either the doctor or a trained technician will examine your pet’s mouth and determine if a dental assessment and cleaning is warranted. The doctor or technician will explain the procedure of the dental assessment and cleaning, the reasons for x-rays, the process of an extraction, and give you an estimate of the cost of procedure. Please note that the estimate does not cover the cost of any extractions or any further treatment needed.
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13) Is a dental really necessary?
Yes, periodontal disease is the MOST COMMON DISEASE of dogs and cats and begins early in life. This disease affects 80% of dogs and 70% of cats greater than 3 years old. For more information please visit https://mahosp.info/do-i-really-need-tohave-my-pets-teeth-cleaned/
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14) When should I plan on picking my pet up?
Typical pick up is between 4 pm and 6 pm. When you admit your pet to our hospital, we will schedule an exact time for you to pick up your pet.
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15) Will I have to give my pet pain medication?
If your pet is just getting their teeth cleaned, no. If your pet has any extractions you will need to give 2 doses of a pain medication either the same night or the next day. We will also give your pet a long-lasting pain medication before your take your pet home. This will last them through the night.
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16) Can my pet play with toys after extractions?
No, your pet will need at least 2 weeks to heal from extractions. Do not allow your pet to chew or pull on anything until released to do so by our staff.
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17) What can my pet eat after extractions?
Your pet will need to eat softened food. This can be canned food or letting their dry food soak up water. Cats do not like their dry food softened, so it is recommended to feed them canned food. Canned food is very low in calories, you will need to feed more of it. Ask if you have any questions about amounts of canned food to feed.
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18) Are there any side effects from anesthesia?
Your pet will be groggy or sleep more when you get home, experiencing a “hang-over” from the anesthesia. This may last 18-24 hours. Your pet may have poor balance. This will make climbing stairs or getting in and out of the car more difficult than usual, so be ready to assist.
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19) How soon after a dental or extractions can my pet eat?
You may offer your pet food the same night. If your pet has had extractions, they need to be fed softened food for 2 weeks. Some pets will feel a little bit nauseous after the procedure and may not want to eat. If your pet vomits after eating some food, do not feed them until the next morning. They should return to their normal eating habits by the next morning.
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20) Will my pet have stitches in their mouth after extractions?
Most extractions require stitches. We will let you know if there are stitches in the mouth after the procedure.
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21) If my pet has stitches in the mouth, will they need to be taken out?
No, all stitches placed in the mouth are absorbable and most will absorb in 2 weeks.
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22) Will my pet need to come back for recheck or stitch removal?
If your pet is only getting their teeth cleaned, they will not need to come back for a recheck.
If your pet is going to have extractions, they will need to come back 2 weeks after the extractions.
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