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Progress or Follow-up Evaluation

With each follow-up examination and telephone communication, repeat the home dental care instructions and recommendations to the client. Set the number and timing of regular follow-up visits based on the disease severity. Although few studies have been performed in dogs and cats, extrapolation from the human literature and guidelines about aging in dogs and cats leads to the following recommendations:14
  • Dental health care needs to be part of the preventive healthcare examination discussion and should begin at the first appointment at which the patient is seen and continue routinely throughout subsequent exams.
  • Examinations q 6 mo can help ensure optimal home oral hygiene. At a minimum, evaluate animals with a healthy mouth at least q 12 mo.
  • Evaluate pets with gingivitis at least q 6 mo.
  • Evaluate pets with periodontitis at least q 3–6 mo.
  • Advanced periodontal disease requires examinations q 1 mo until the disease is controlled.

Evaluate disease status, such as periodontal disease, on the conscious patient with products that allow an assessment of periodontal health without placing the patient under anesthesia.14 During subsequent examinations, evaluate client compliance, revise the treatment plan as needed, and redefine the prognosis.

TABLE 3: Instruments To Include in the Dental Surgical Pack*

  • Scalers
  • Curettes
  • Probes/explorer
  • Sharpening materials
  • Scalpel
  • Extraction equipment (e.g., periosteal elevators, luxating elevators, periodontal elevators, extraction forceps, root tip picks, root tip forceps)
  • Thumb forceps
  • Hemostats
  • Iris, LaGrange, Mayo, or Metzenbaum scissors
  • Needle holders
  • Mouth mirror
  • Retraction aid (e.g., University of Minnesota retractor)
* Instruments must be sterilized by accepted techniques prior to each use. Hand instruments must by properly sharpened and cared for.

Minimum Protective Devices To Be Used During Dental Procedures

  • Cap or hair bonnet
  • Mask
  • Goggles, surgical spectacles, or face shield
  • Smock
  • Gloves
  • Earplugs
  • Dosimeter
  • Protection from radiation (e.g., lead shield)

TABLE 5: Items To Include in the Dental Chart and/or Medical Records

  • Signalment
  • Physical examination, medical, and dental history findings
  • Oral examination findings
  • Anesthesia and surgery monitoring log and surgical findings
  • Any dental, oral, or other disease(s) currently present in the animal
  • Abnormal probing depths (described for each affected tooth)
  • Dentition chart with specific abnormalities noted, such as discoloration; worn areas; missing, malpositioned, or fractured teeth; supernumerary, tooth resorption; and soft-tissue masses
  • Current and future treatment plan, addressing all abnormalities found. This includes information regarding initial decisions, decision-making algorithm, and changes based on subsequent findings
  • Recommendations for home dental care
  • Any recommendations declined by the client
  • Prognosis
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