The importance of complete dental care
Concerns about anesthesia are issues within both the human and veterinary medical fields. Oral surgical procedures may be
extended and rather involved, and, consequently, they require adequate preanesthetic, intraoperative and postoperative management
of all vital parameters affecting patients. Veterinary practices that routinely perform dental radiography and probing on
all dental patients practice at an advanced level of care. They're also likely to be well-equipped to safely monitor patients
and handle any problems they encounter.
Photo 5: Anesthesia-free cleaning will provide a false sense of security in cases such as this. The palatal side of the teeth
cannot be cleaned properly nor can the extent of the bone damage be assessed without anesthesia. The end result is extraction
and proper closure to eliminate the inevitable fistula.
Administration of premedications and nerve blocks enables patients to be kept at anesthetic depths consistent with that of
a light general anesthesia. This keeps patients close to waking, even when extractions or other invasive procedures are needed,
thus maximizing cardiac output and tissue perfusion and maintaining blood pressure.
As illustrated below, NPDS is a cosmetic-only procedure. It hides the true disease that exists below the gum line. It also
can be damaging to the tooth and the patient. The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) has released a position on the
practice of NPDS (see sidebar).
The best advice is to continue to practice high-quality diagnostic dentistry to ensure your patients have the best oral care
AVDC Position Statement on NDPS
The next installment of this series will uncover problems missed with improper evaluation of oral disease during in-hospital
Dr. Beckman is acting president of the American Veterinary Dental Society and owns and operates a companion-animal and referral
dentistry and oral surgery practice in Punta Gorda, Fla. He sees referrals at Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orlando
and at Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta, lectures internationally and operates the Veterinary Dental Education Center
in Punta Gorda.