Dental Awareness Month

posted: by: Kristin Neuhauser Tags: "Clinic Specials" "News" 

This is Howie Neuhauser.

Contrary to popular belief, he is an English Setter, not a hairy Dalmatian. He’s around seven years old. His hobbies are sleeping. That’s it, just sleeping.

Howie came in last week to have his teeth cleaned. Since we are coming up on our Dental Awareness time of year, he agreed to share his experience to give everyone a little insight about the procedure.

First, I gave Howie a good exam and drew a blood sample to make sure he was healthy to go under anesthesia. Everything checked out beautifully, so we started his procedure with an injection to sedate him. Ten minutes later, he was back in his natural state- asleep!

In the surgery room, we shaved a small spot on his front leg and placed an IV catheter. We use this to run intravenous fluids to patients under anesthesia to keep blood pressure stable. It also serves as a route for us to administer medications.

After an injection of anesthetic medication through the catheter, Howie was sleepy enough to place an endotracheal tube. An ET tube helps to deliver oxygen and anesthetic gas during the procedure and also protects his airway to keep any fluid from entering his lungs.

We also hooked him up to intravenous fluids and an ECG to track his heart rate and rhythm. That’s a nice steady tracing- Howie is a very good boy!

After all that, we were finally ready to get down to business. Here is a picture of Howie’s mouth before the procedure. You can see the calculus on his teeth and that his gums are just a little red along the gumline. The redness is gingivitis, inflammation and/or infection in the gums. When gingivitis starts to appear, it’s time to get those teeth cleaned. Howie made his appointment at just the right time!

To start the procedure, my trusty sidekick, Drew, scaled the calculus from the crowns of the teeth and from under the gumline with an ultrasonic scaler.

The scaler leaves tiny scratches on the teeth, so next he polished all the teeth to smooth out those irregularities and any others that may have formed since his last cleaning. Howie did not get to choose his toothpaste flavor so I hope he likes bubble gum.

Here is a picture of Howie’s mouth after the cleaning. Since I don’t floss his teeth every night, his gums are a little irritated, but his teeth look pretty good for an older guy!

After the cleaning, I gave his teeth, gums, and oral cavity a thorough exam. Then we took x-rays of all of his teeth to check for bone loss due to infection, devitalized teeth, broken teeth, or any other signs of disease under the gumline that we couldn’t see on exam. Fortunately everything looked great.