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Nursing considerations during routine dental procedures

02 February 2022
15 mins read
Volume 13 · Issue 1
Figure 2. Dental nerve block (Benney, 2017).
Figure 2. Dental nerve block (Benney, 2017).


In the author's experience, patients that have a dental procedure often recover more slowly than any other routine procedure, as some requirements of a dental patient may not be taken into consideration. This article outlines the nursing considerations that are required during a routine dental procedure. Examples include: awareness of hypothermia risks; being aware of the premedication and pain relief used; and the use of an appropriately sized throat pack to ensure no fluid enters the patient's lungs.

In 2012, Redondo et al published a study that indicated that over 80% of 1525 dogs suffered hypothermia postoperatively following a routine procedure. Throughout this article, the author discusses the nursing considerations during routine dental procedures, including thermoregulation, premedication and pain relief.

Veterinary surgeons and veterinary nurses should work together to ensure an appropriate anaesthetic plan is prepared and catered to each patient's needs. Reading the patient's clinical history and recording information from the owner will indicate if any drugs need to be altered before being administered to the patient. For example, if non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) were given perioperatively, there is an increased risk of depleted renal function as a result of the drug's side effects (Murrell, 2019); thus, if a patient already has low kidney parameters then NSAIDs should be avoided. Once a premedication has been chosen by the veterinary surgeon, the veterinary nurse needs to be aware of the contraindications of these drugs; for example, acepromazine interferes with temperature regulation as it causes vasodilation leading to heat loss, therefore, a heat source should be used to maintain the patient's temperature once premedicated (Aarnes and Muir, 2011; Pypendop and Ilkiw, 2012). This is particularly important during dental procedures, as a patient's body temperature will start to drop under general anaesthetic because the body cannot maintain it, while the water from the dental scaler or the dental high speed instrument used for extractions leads to heat loss (Quandt, 2018).

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