Anesthesia and pain management are critical components of any comprehensive oral heath treatment plan. Although anesthesia can make many pet owners nervous and is not without risk, if done with attention to detail, proper drug selection for the individual patient and careful monitoring, most potential risks can be effectively minimized.
Comprehensive oral care and treatments sometimes require lengthy anesthesia, and most veterinarians are also trained to be very competent anesthesiologists.
A veterinarian or trained anesthesia technician separate from the one performing any treatment should be present and monitoring the patient during the entire dental treatment procedure. When using Companion Animal Dental Services, Dr. Herrman will be with your pet the entire time and will personally perform all of the required dental procedures usually with the first anesthesia.
Proper anesthesia requires the placement of a cuffed endotracheal tube and blocking of the rear of the mouth with a gauze pack to prevent debris and water aspiration. Intravenous fluids should always accompany anesthesia as should monitoring of: ECG (electrocardiogram), blood pressure, blood oxygen content, breathing rate, and end tidal (breath) carbon dioxide content. If all these are being monitored and the proper anesthesia is being performed almost any patient in trouble should be able to be taken off anesthesia and returned to a conscious state quickly.
Pain management is part of the anesthetic process, but should also have a component separate from the actual loss of consciousness. It is ideally started before the anesthesia as pre-medication, continued during the procedure by using local blocks (just like when we go to the dentist), and after the procedure with pain management to go home. An animal with any amount of work done, including many extractions, should be able to eat the same evening if pain management was handled appropriately.
Anesthesia can add significantly to the cost of dental treatments, but it is absolutely necessary to fully address any potential problems in the oral cavity of a pet, attend to the diseased areas properly, and return the mouth comfortably to a disease free state.