Veterinary Technicians and Cleaning Teeth - Vet Tech Guide

Veterinary Technicians and Cleaning Teeth

Teeth cleaning is a common procedure that is performed in most veterinary clinics and hospitals today.

When pets’ teeth are not cleaned regularly, the animals can develop serious health problems including abscesses, periodontal disease, tooth loss and even heart problems. Typically, veterinary technicians are responsible for this procedure, which involves the following steps.

Preparing for the Procedure

As a rule, animals are anesthetized prior to teeth cleaning procedures. However, before they can be given anesthesia, the veterinarian will thoroughly examine them to ensure that they are healthy enough for the procedure. So long as the vet determines that an animal can handle the anesthesia, the vet tech will then place an IV catheter into the patient.

After giving the patient the appropriate amount of anesthetic, the vet tech will hook the patient up to the anesthetic machine and monitoring equipment. The monitoring equipment is essential so that the veterinary technician can monitor the patient’s vital signs during the teeth cleaning procedure.

In most cases, it is required to take the patient’s vitals at least every five minutes. Any abnormalities must be reported to the veterinarian in charge right away. It is also necessary for the vet tech to monitor the anesthetic level and IV fluid rate and adjust them when and if necessary.

teeth cleaning for dogs

The Basic Cleaning Procedure

After the animal has been completely prepped for the teeth cleaning procedure, the veterinary technician will use an ultrasonic scaler to remove any tarter buildup from the teeth. Animals tend to develop a large amount of tarter on their teeth, especially if they do not receive regular teeth cleaning procedures.

After removing as much tarter as possible with the ultrasonic scaler, the vet tech may also need to use a manual dental instrument to remove any leftover tarter. If necessary, the technician will perform a root planing and/or subgingival scaling as well. Once the vet tech has removed all of the tarter, he or she will check for such abnormalities as those listed below.

  • Enamel Defects
  • Root Pockets
  • Broken or Rotted Teeth
  • Furcation Exposure
  • Abscesses
  • Signs of Periodontal Disease

Dental Abnormalities

During the teeth cleaning procedure, if the veterinary technician observes any of the above problems or any other dental abnormalities, the veterinarian must be notified immediately.

Additionally, all problems and abnormalities should be recorded in the patient’s medical chart.

This is the basic procedure for cleaning animals’ teeth. If any abnormalities are found, the veterinarian may perform more advanced dental procedures after obtaining the owner’s approval. Veterinary technicians must never attempt to treat any dental problems beyond simple teeth cleaning.

Educating Clients

Finally, one of the most important dental-related responsibilities of vet techs is to educate their clients about proper oral hygiene and dental care for their pets.

By teaching pet owners about pet-safe toothpaste and other dental products, vet techs play an important role in keeping pets’ teeth strong and healthy.

Interested in specializing in dental? There is a speciality for you as a dental technician.