What are the dangers of opting for anesthesia-free dental cleanings instead of professional cleanings performed under anesthesia by a veterinarian?

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Anesthesia-free pet dentistry is gaining popularity with an increasing number of dog and cat owners. Many are fearful of anesthesia, or they may not be able to afford professional veterinary dental care so they opt for this, but it is really just a cosmetic procedure that addresses only the parts of your pet’s teeth you can see.

Here’s why you really need to do a canine dental exam under anaesthesia:

• A thorough exam just can’t be done on a dog who is awake. This is because a typical pet dental exam includes checking for oral growths or ulcers, treatment/removal of diseased teeth, removal of plaque and tartar, and finally polishing the teeth. Pets, no matter how well-trained they may be, do not open up their mouth and put up with the noise and possible discomfort involved with a full dental cleaning, so they need to be immobilized t to insure their safety and cooperation during the procedure. Anesthesia is needed for scaling below the gum line where periodontal disease is most active.
• Anesthesia provides pain control.
• Non-professional dental scaling can potentially give pet owners a false sense of security about the state of their dog’s or cat’s oral health. Even though your pet’s teeth – what you can see of them – may look clean and fresh after an anesthesia-free dental procedure, what you can’t see is actually more important. Problems like plaque build-up below the gum line and gingivitis aren’t addressed during a procedure that only scrapes and polishes the teeth. Most oral disease happens below the visible surfaces of your dog’s or cat’s mouth.
Depending on what is done during the dental (i.e. extractions or tissue biopsy), your veterinarian may send you home with pain medications in addition to post-dental antibiotics. If you have concerns about your pet’s comfort level or post-dental care at home, please speak to your veterinarian.

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