The Dangers of Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings
Anesthesia-free dental cleanings are advertised as a means of keeping your pet’s oral cavity healthy without anesthesia. These procedures only provide cosmetic cleaning of the teeth and do not fully treat the entire mouth. Anesthesia is the only way to be able to fully examine, diagnose, and treat all the disease that can occur in your dog or cat’s mouth. It is both unsafe for them and for their doctors to perform the appropriate diagnostics on an awake patient.
In addition, anesthesia-free “dental cleanings” usually involve heavy physical restraint while their teeth are scraped. This can often be stressful, painful, and occasionally can result in injury to your pet.
Tooth scraping performed by untrained individuals on an unanesthetized patient may succeed in removing the visible buildup, but will not remove the disease-causing buildup that is under the gum line. This leads to a false sense of security.
Anesthesia-free tooth scraping does not treat your pet’s dental disease. These scrapings also leave the surface of the tooth damaged (hand instruments used to scrape the teeth, especially when used improperly by untrained individuals, can cause damage to the enamel of the tooth), which allows more plaque and dental calculus to build up.
While anesthesia-free cleanings may seem like they cost less up front, the long-term consequences of putting off diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease can end up costing far more in the future. It breaks our hearts when dogs that have had these cleanings for years end up needing every tooth extracted due to uncontrolled periodontal disease that could have been identified and treated if they had been to our clinic and put under general anesthesia. Anesthesia is considered to be the standard of care for pet dentistry, as outlined in the American Animal Hospital Association’s Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats.