Pet's age faster than people and in a few months time new health problems, such as heart murmurs can be detected. These can have a dramatic effect on the outcome and actions taken during an anesthesia procedure. Our office prides itself on having some of the safest anesthesia protocols around making our complication rate less than the national average and extremely rare. The only way we continue to maintain our high rate of success is if we take the time to ensure our patients are healthy and we are fully prepared and take all the necessary precautions to ensure a safe and health procedure. Most owners are planning on and hoping for a cleaning only but 90% of the patients coming in for a dental cleaning have much more severe dental disease and surgical extractions are often needed at the time of the cleaning. This is because of advanced periodontal disease that occurs from genetics and lack of daily brushing. Extractions are surgical procedures that require more time from our veterinarian and can alter how we schedule dental cleaning procedures. If we can't prepare for these in advance your pet may need to have a second procedure to complete the surgical extractions and the extra time needed to clean the diseased teeth extends the procedure time, which can result in additional fee's and prolong your pets recovery time.
New patients - Dental Consultation vs Examination Recommendations.
We require either a dental consultation or an examination to schedule a dental cleaning at our office. If your pet is new to our office we highly recommend you set up an examination with one of our veterinarians as opposed to a dental consultation to schedule your pet's dental cleaning procedure. While we offer a low cost dental consultation option (see below) to you a consultation is not a full examination. Your pet's health and safety are critically important to our office and having a full examination is the first step to ensure your pet is healthy for the procedure. Anesthesia is always a part of a quality dental cleaning and it is very safe but in order to maintain our high safety standards we want ensure your pet is healthy and want to be aware of any risk factors. A full examination also allows you to establish as a client at our office for regular veterinary services should your pet need any additional care unrelated to the dental cleaning. At both the consultation and examination appointments our veterinarians will build you a patient specific estimate should your pet require any additional safety steps or if it is found your pet needs more than just a cleaning as discussed above. Our trained team members will also to discuss with you the procedure and the recommended additional anesthetic blood testing and dental radiographs to ensure you and your pet are prepared and ready for this procedure. After this assessment we can schedule your pets procedure accordingly. If your pet suffers from any chronic medical conditions or is not feeling well a full examination may be required to set up a dental cleaning procedure with our office and additional medications, testing or procedures may be required. Please ensure your bring any information pertaining to your pet's health with you to this appointment. This includes notes on chronic health problems, vaccine history, travel history, current medications/supplements and any information that affects your pet's daily life or health.
Existing patients - Dental Consultation vs Examination Recommendations.
Our existing patients have the option of having a full examination or a dental consultation as long as they are feeling well. This will depend on what your pet was seen for previously and if you pet has any chronic medical conditions that we need to re-assess before a dental. The consultation is a less involved assessment and works for patients who have recently had a full physical examination with one of our veterinarians but may need an updated oral exam and estimate for a dental cleaning. If you would like the veterinarian to assess any other health issues we will want to set up an examination and not just a dental consultation. Please be advised that our basic wellness checks for vaccinations or medical progress evaluations are not full physical examinations for anesthesia procedures and a full physical examination may be required if your pet has any chronic medical conditions.
What is included with a Dental consultation for Existing Patients
At our office a dental consultation is designed to save you money while assessing your pet for their up coming dental cleaning procedure. This service is discounted as a courtesy to our existing patients but we don't want to cut any corners that may put your pet at risk. These are needed to schedule a dental cleaning if you are an existing patient that does not have a current oral exam and estimate on file.
Our Doctors and Staff will use this time to assess a few things about your pet
Basic pet information - Is your pet a senior? Does your pet have other underlying health conditions we should be prepared for? Does your pet take any medications? What reasons do you feel your pet is due for a dental cleaning? Are the concerns you have treated with dental cleaning or does your pet need an exam? How severe is your pet's dental disease?
Awake oral exam - Our doctors will do our best to exam your pet's mouth during this consult. Some pets will not allow for a good oral exam and that will make things more difficult, but we always try.
Cardiopulmonary Auscultation and Basic Vitals - Our doctors will collect some basic vitals on your pet and listen to their heart and lungs. We want to do everything in our power to provide your pet with a safe anesthetic dental cleaning. Ensuring your pet's vitals are normal is essential
Pre-Anesthetic blood testing - While this is not mandatory it is always essential and strongly recommended and is typically done at the time of the cleaning procedure and not at the time of the consultation. Any pet having a general anesthetic procedure should have at minimum a pre-anesthetic screen even if they had a normal screen in the past or are acting normal at home. Blood tests can pick up problems before your pet is "acting sick". Our office has new state of the art in house blood testing machines that allow us to collect a sample the morning of your pet's procedure and have results quickly and efficiently. This gives us a snap shot of their health prior to their procedure. We have 4 different pre-anesthetic options available so there is an option for every pet and price level. Our Doctors and staff will discuss these options with you at your consult. Please understand this is ALWAYS recommended and if you decline this test your pet may experience unexpected complications. For more information on pre-anesthetic screens please read about them on our Anesthesia and Blood Testing page.
A dental estimate based on what we can assess from the information we have gathered during this consultation. Please understand we do our very best to give you a worse case estimate scenario so you can prepare but a full oral exam can't be completed on an awake dog and cat so it will be repeated once your pet is under anesthesia for a cleaning and we may uncover things we did not see during your consult.
The information we gather from this consult is vital to your pet's cleaning as well as our scheduling so please understand you can't have your pet's teeth cleaned at our office without at least a dental consultation. Call today to schedule
Difference between a Dental Consult and an Exam
A dental consultation is just what it says. This is a conversation between the Veterinarian and you about what to expect when you pet has a dental cleaning at our office. This is not a full examination. Some pets will require a full examination before we are able to clean their teeth.
If your pet is otherwise healthy and has bad breath, a broken or discolored tooth, heavy tarter accumulation and you have had a full physical exam with one of our Veterinarians or another veterinarian in the previous 6-12 months then a dental consult is for you. If your pet has not had a full examination by a veterinarian we advise a full examination first for safety reasons. Please be aware that many physical exams provided at vaccine clinics, shelters and low cost clinics are basic exams to provide immunizations and are uncommonly comprehensive examinations. Our office also offers basic vaccine wellness exams for vaccine patients and these are not the same as a full comprehensive examination.
If your pet is not eating, losing weight, drooling excessively, painful, vomiting, having diarrhea or any other problem that is not specifically going to resolve from a dental cleaning then your pet will need an exam. Exams are more invasive and help to determine what may be the real source of your pet's problem. Sometimes it is determined that your pet needs a dental cleaning but often times other issues are the culprit and our doctors will need to run additional tests or having longer discussions with you about your pet's health. A dental consultation DOES NOT cover this type of evaluation. A dental consultation is merely a check at basic vitals and an oral exam to build you an estimate. It is not an examination to determine if your pet needs a dental. A consult is for a pet that already has been determined to need a dental cleaning from a previous exam or obvious dental only issue.
Please understand that if you schedule a dental consult and the doctor does not feel that all your pet needs is a cleaning and exam will be recommended before a dental can be performed. This is for your pet's safety!
Examples of oral conditions that would require an exam instead of a consult include - facial swelling, wounds, bleeding from the mouth, difficulty eating or swallowing, severe oral pain, chronic stomatitis, decreased appetite or loss of appetite. These conditions may resolve from a dental cleaning but given the other possible health concerns and diseases that can go along with these an exam will likely be needed in place of a dental consultation.