Taking Veterinary Dentistry To The Next Level

At Eastown Veterinary Clinic, we take Veterinary Dentistry to the next level. Your pet's veterinarian will assess their teeth and gums during every exam. They may offer options for at-home dental care or recommend a complete oral health assessment which is performed under general anesthesia. These recommendations will depend on the stage of dental disease noted. Dr. Happel performing Oral Surgery on a feline patient.

All of the veterinarians that perform dentistry at Eastown receive thorough training from Dr. Happel.

Dr. Happel, our clinic's owner and dentistry expert, completed specialized dentistry training with the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC). She has been utilizing this training in practice for over a decade and is one of the few dentistry experts in the state of Michigan.

She is trained in orthodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, advanced periodontal surgery, and advanced oral surgery. 

Read below to learn why advanced dentistry is something you should consider for your pet!

Let's Walk Through a Day in the Life of a Dental Procedure at Eastown Veterinary Clinic


Your pet will be scheduled for admission between 8:00 and 9:00 A.M.

When you arrive at the clinic, you will text our Client & Patient Coordinators to let them know you have arrived. At that time, one of our licensed nurses will call you and review anesthesia consent forms and discharge expectations..

You will then be instructed to bring your pet in, and the nurse will meet you to take your pet back for admission..

After morning admission, the doctor will perform a pre-surgical exam. This involves listening to the heart and lungs and ensuring your pet is medically cleared for anesthesia. The doctor, nurses, and assistants will then discuss the order in which the procedures will be performed and begin their first procedure.

Pre-Anesthetic Preparation

When it is your pet’s turn, the nurse will administer pain medication and mild sedative into the muscle. This will relax them enough to allow us to shave an area on the front leg and place an intravenous (IV) catheter.

Then, an injection of an anesthetic agent is given in the IV catheter to make your pet sleepy enough for us to pass a tube down the airway and hook the tube up to oxygen and gas anesthesia which keeps him/her asleep during the procedure.

Next, we will attach IV fluids to the IV catheter to maintain adequate hydration and blood pressure under anesthesia. Your pet will be connected to monitoring equipment similar to humans. We monitor their heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, blood oxygenation, and core body temperature. They are also wrapped in a surgical heating blanket to keep their core body temperature normal to help them recover.

Complete Oral Health Assessment & Treatment

Now that your pet is asleep and being safely monitored, we chart and x-ray the mouth just like they do at the human dentist to evaluate the mouth's health above and below the gum line.

Once the doctor has all the information needed to know what the problems are and how to fix them, they will call you and inform you of their findings and the treatment plan.


Once the treatments are complete, the licensed nurse stays with and monitors your pet until they are awake enough to remove the breathing tube. Once the tube is safely removed and they are back in their kennel, a dental assistant monitors their vitals every 15 minutes until they stand.


Discharges are scheduled between 5 and 6 pm.

At the time of your discharge appointment, your pet’s dental nurse will discuss what behaviors and symptoms are normal and not normal after anesthesia, any medications to be administered, and feeding instructions and will answer any questions you may have.

You will be sent home with written instructions, and a member of our medical team will call you to check in a day or two later.

Dental Home Care

Animals need dental care similar to humans. Just like we brush our teeth 2-3 times daily, dogs and cats also need daily home care. Just like we receive professional cleanings every 6 months, dogs and cats need professional cleanings by a veterinarian once a year. You can do many things to delay plaque buildup on your pet’s teeth. None of these treatments remove the mineralized tartar that is already present. All therapies work better on a clean slate.


  • The best home care is what you CAN DO.
  • Use only VOHC products, which are tested and proven to reduce plaque and tartar.
  • Plaque forms tartar in 48 hrs, so home care needs to be done daily or every other day to be effective. Pets with less frequent home care showed results equal to those without.
  • There is a known link between poor oral health and systemic inflammatory processes; thus, pets with good oral care have healthier lives with fewer or better-controlled diseases.

Developing a home care routine is important for healthier lives.

Below are some options to choose from:

Brushed is Best

Like us, tooth brushing will always be the best way to ensure good dental health for our pets! Daily brushing with any VOHC-approved pet toothpaste will provide your pet with safe and effective dental care. Unlike toothpaste for humans, it’s meant to be swallowed as well.

Daily Feeding

VOHC-recommended foods such as Hills Oral Care can delay tartar buildup by scrubbing away the plaque with the “interlocking fiber technology” while the “tartar control” coating on the food works like toothpaste to reduce plaque when eaten.

Rinse and Repeat

VOHC Vetradent™ Water Additive for Dogs & Cats is scientifically formulated with Biotrate™ Technology to control tartar by working against bacteria and altering the pet’s oral cavity environment. This can be provided by simply adding a measured amount of Vetradent Water Additive to the pet’s drinking water.

Frequent Healthy Chewing

The natural mechanical action of chewing helps delay plaque buildup, but it’s important to know that Not All Treats Are Created Equal. Using non-flexible objects like bone, hooves, or antlers have only a mechanical action and is known to break teeth. Remember, "If the toy doesn’t give to the pressure of your fingernail, a tooth is likely to break.”

Any VOHC-recommended dental chew treats will be the best choice for your pet when choosing a dental-friendly chewing option.

Let Eastown Veterinary Clinic Do the Work FOR YOU

If you simply don’t have time in the day for so much upkeep, you can still provide your pet with home dental care by letting us apply SANOS® Veterinary Dental Sealant while your pet is sedated or under anesthesia for their dental cleaning. SANOS is a sealant that works as a barrier to prevent bad bacteria from getting under the gum line, slowing periodontal disease.

Say No to Anesthesia Free Dentistry

Anesthesia-free dentistry is a dangerous movement that impacts or goes against the safety and thoroughness that we get with performing dental cleanings under general anesthesia. There are several reasons why this method is strongly discouraged:

It's Ineffective: A 2018 study showed dogs receiving hand scaling without anesthesia had worse dental disease and hidden pain than those without dental care.

X-rays of the Tooth Root Aren't Possible: Dental X-rays must be performed under anesthesia to visualize almost 2/3 of each tooth below the gumline. Studies show only 14-28% of pets have no X-ray changes at each dental cleaning. 

A False Sense of Security: A dental cleaning without anesthesia only allows for work to be done above the gum line, resulting in hidden disease and a false sense of security.

Infection Persists: Bone loss and bacterial growth begin within the gingival sulcus (the space between the gum and the tooth). This is an area that cannot be treated adequately without anesthesia.

Cosmetic at Best: The crowns of the teeth look better and whiter, but none of the underlying disease can be addressed.

It is Below the Standard of Care: The American Veterinary Medical Association's position statement and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have adopted the same position as the American Veterinary Dental College that anesthesia-free dentistry is unacceptable, at best, and it's dangerous, at worst. The care is inadequate for the dental health of the patient. Anesthesia with all dental procedures is the standard of care.

Signs of Oral and Dental Diseases in Dogs and Cats Include:

  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth or teeth that are discolored or covered in tartar
  • Shying away from you when you touch around your pet's mouth
  • Drooling or dropping food
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Loss of energy, appetite or weight loss (this combination can be a result of many different diseases, so schedule an exam at Eastown Veterinary Clinic as soon as possible if your pet is exhibiting these symptoms)

Dental Referral Form

Download Dental Referral Form