Do you really need your best anesthesia equipment for dental patients?

August 10, 2016

You're about to anesthetize a 12-year-old Yorkie with blood pressure issues. 'Nuff said.

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Train techs in dentistry! 

Paying a veterinary technician to clean, chart and radiograph teeth and provide pain control is more cost effective than leaving these duties to a veterinarian. Do your budget a favor and train your techs!

Dentistry maintains a “lesser than” status when compared with surgery, which is why surgical suites tend to be so much nicer and more tech-forward than where dental procedures occur. But Tasha McNerney, BS, CVT, CVPP, says this underdog status is undeserved.

At a recent CVC session, McNerney presented her reasons for moving dentistry up the ladder. For starters, dentistry patients are usually older and present with concurrent health issues (picture a 12-year old Yorkie mix with blood pressure issues) that have to be monitored while the pet is under anesthesia for three or four hours.

Block pain before it starts

If you see that your dentistry patient is inflamed, give a local block before you get started. Periodontal disease and gingivitis are inherently painful, and it's not uncommon for patients to start waking up under anesthesia. Using a local block up front is far more cost effective than turning up the inhaled anesthetic (especially if you use sevoflurane!)

Surgery patients, on the other hand, are typically young and otherwise healthy and don't need to be under anesthesia for nearly as long.

Furthermore, McNerney says tooth extractions should be treated as orthopedic surgery. Teeth are bones, and they don't transmit pain any differently than hip bones or knee bones.