The 11-Step Pet Dental Services Procedure

Step 1: Medical & Behavioral History Check
PDS requires every patient to have a Medical and Behavioral History Form completed prior to each dental procedure to gain a complete understanding of the patient. PDS will also review the patient’s hospital chart and gain valuable information from doctors and staff.  All of this is done in addition to the oral and health examination that has already been completed by the veterinarian that recommended the professional outpatient preventive dentistry (POPD) procedure to be performed by the PDS staff member.

Step 2: Pre-Exam; physical and oral
PDS walks each dog prior to every procedure, checking the pet’s gait. A check of joint discomfort or pain is completed on all dogs and cats as well to determine a pet’s candidacy for the procedure since restraint is necessary during a POPD. Next, a complete extra-oral and intra-oral exam is completed. PDS checks for symmetry, swelling and pain. They then evaluate each tooth and surrounding gingiva for pathology. At this stage, the PDS staff member evaluates calculus levels, compromised teeth, gingival condition and periodontal pockets.  This step determines the candidacy of the patient for a POPD procedure.

Step 3: Treatment Plan
After the completion of steps 1 and 2, a treatment plan is then generated through a PDS staff member, doctor and client partnership. These treatment plans can range from simply completing the POPD procedure to recommending that the professional oral hygiene procedure be performed under general anesthesia.  The treatment plans will include home care instructions and a re-call date for an anesthetic dental treatment or a maintenance POPD procedure, if necessary. This step is crucial in ensuring the patient receives the proper care for their periodontal and health condition.

Step 4: Supra-gingival Scaling 
A POPD begins with the removal of supra-gingival deposits of plaque and calculus from the buccal, lingual and interproximal surfaces. A combination of forceps, hand instruments and power scaling are used for plaque and calculus removal.

Step 5: Sub-gingival Scaling
Plaque and calculus deposits are thoroughly removed from the sub-gingival areas.  In stages 3 and 4 periodontal disease, this would be very difficult, which is why the pre-examination (Step 2) is so important in determining whether or not a patient is a candidate for this procedure.

Step 6: Post Dental Probing
After the dental procedure is completed, a 6-point probing of each tooth is performed. A thorough probing is vital in recognizing and communicating areas of concern to the doctors and clients. All abnormal pocket depths are noted for the final chart.

Step 7: Machine Polish
PDS hygienists then perform a machine polish at the end of every prophylaxis using a pumice or polishing paste. Polishing will assist in the smoothing out of minor defects of the enamel which may have occurred during the procedure, thus aiding in the prevention of future plaque accumulation. It will also help with the removal of certain enamel stains.

Step 8: Oral Rinse
Any diseased tissue, plaque or paste remnants are removed through an irrigation of the oral cavity. The oral cavity and gingival pockets or sulcus are flushed with a chlorhexidine based solution.

Step 9: Post-Check and Charting
A complete evaluation of each tooth is performed, checking for any retained calculus with a periodontal probe and/or explorer. The dental chart is completed, and any special circumstances are noted.  A completed chart will include proper patient information, abnormal probing depths, periodontal problems, tooth abnormalities, home care recommendations, re-call dates and any additional notes.

Step 10: Doctor and Staff Communication
The doctor will examine the oral cavity with a corresponding evaluation of the dental chart to ensure complete pathological notation. Next, a post-treatment oral health care plan is prepared for the patient.

Step 11: Client Education
Dental awareness and education is of the utmost importance for the overall well-being of the patient. After each POPD procedure, the hygienist will educate clients about the importance of maintaining good oral health in their pets. They will also review their pet’s dental experience and chart, review the importance of continuous re-calls and explain to them the many options regarding home care. They will also provide brushing demonstrations with their pet, when necessary.