WITH NATIONAL DENTAL MONTH APPROACHING i THOUGHT IT WOULD BE PRUDENT TO BEGIN A DISCUSSION REGARDING NON ANESTHETIC DENTAL CLEANING VERSUS ANESTHETIC DENTAL CLEANING.
i WILL GO ON RECORD WITH MY SIMPLE ANSWER TO CLIENTS WHEN ASKED HOW I FEEL ABOUT NON ANESTHETIC DENTAL CLEANING.
"IF IT WAS BENEFICIAL TO THE PATIENT i WOULD HAVE SOMEONE EMPLOYED IN MY PRACTICE THAT PERFORMED NON ANESTHETIC DENTAL CLEANINGS, We DO NOT HAVE ANY SUCH PERSON EMPLOYED".
What is an Anesthesia Free Pet Dental Cleaning?
You might have heard about anesthesia free dental cleanings from a local groomer, pet store, word of mouth or even some veterinary providers. Commonly known as anesthesia free dental cleanings, the practice involves scaling (scraping with an instrument) of a dog or cat’s teeth without putting the pet under anesthesia.
Veterinarians often refer to the practice of scaling the teeth without anesthesia as non-anesthesia dental scaling (NAD or NADS), as the term “cleaning” is misleading to pet owners who have the impression that after one of these procedures, their pet’s mouth is clean and healthy. It may sound like a great option, but what exactly does this procedure involve?
Nobody could expect a dog or cat to patiently sit like this through exam, cleaning, cleaning below gumline and radiographs.
First, the title of the procedure is accurate in that there is no anesthesia involved. This means your pet must be physically restrained, some at higher levels than others, in order for the provider to access the animal’s teeth. A provider will often tell a pet owner it is just like a human going to the dentist, which is absolutely not the case. While some pets may appear to tolerate this restraint better than others, your pet is still being restrained for a lengthy period of time with no ability to understand why or what is happening to them.
How many people actually enjoy sitting in the dental chair, holding their mouth open while a dental hygienist scrapes mineralized tartar from their teeth? Imagine how a pet, who can’t communicate, feels when the NAD provider holds open their mouth and attempts to do the same. We can understand what the dentist or hygienist is doing and can be asked to hold still and relax, but the pet does not understand and thus will frequently require a traumatic restraint process.
The next step is using a sharp instrument to remove plaque from the visible part of the tooth, or scaling the crown of the tooth.
The discoloration of your pet’s teeth is essentially layers of plaque and bacteria that have built up over time, which is only eliminated from the visible portion of the tooth by using a sharp hand instrument called a scaler.
Consider your visits to the dentist and the minor scaling that sometimes has to be done to remove some of the tiny spots of plaque build-up. Now, take a look at your pet’s teeth and think about how it might feel to have that amount of build-up scraped from your teeth. It certainly could cause a great deal of discomfort and pain to your pet.
At the end of the anesthesia free dental procedure, the outside surfaces or your pet’s teeth may appear visibly whiter. However, there is much more than meets the eye. Because your pet wasn’t under anesthesia, there was no ability to clean beneath the gumline where the bacteria that causes periodontal disease occurs and causes bad breath and extensive damage to tooth roots and supporting bone structure.
White teeth do not mean a clean and healthy mouth. This is the most unfortunate misconception by many loving pet owners, who don’t realize the potential oral health problems that sit beneath their pet’s gums.
The best dental care for your pet is a regular veterinary dental cleanings under anesthesia. Learn more about veterinary dental cleanings and the benefits for your pet.
What is a Professional Veterinary Dental Cleaning?
As a pet owner, you have your pet’s best interest at heart and want to make the best choice for their care. When choosing your pet’s dental care, be sure to learn about a comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning, also known as a professional dental cleaning, and its long term benefits for your pet’s overall health.
What you can expect from a professional veterinary dental cleaning:
You should expect your veterinarian to educate you and allow you to ask questions about your pet’s dental health.
A veterinary dental cleaning always begins with an initial awake oral exam of your dog or cat’s mouth by a veterinarian or a veterinary dentist. This allows the veterinarian not only to get a general idea of your pet’s dental condition, but also offers you the opportunity to ask questions and to get good advice for home care that can benefit your pet.
Your pet has blood drawn for analysis to identify any potential problems that the doctor needs to be aware of and to determine if the pet is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia.
Your pet is anesthetized. This is what often worries most pet owners, however, under proper protocols anesthesia is very safe. We encourage pet owners to ask their veterinarian about their anesthesia protocol and experience prior to scheduling a procedure.
A veterinary dentist and some other veterinarians will also use a local anesthetic in your dog or cat’s mouth during procedures. This allows the veterinarian to use less general anesthetic thereby improving the safety of the anesthetic procedure and allowing your pet to recover more quickly and with less pain.
While under anesthesia, a comprehensive veterinary dental cleaning will include the following, without any pain or discomfort to your pet:
After recovery, your dog or cat is most often able to go home and unless an additional procedure has been done, your pet can eat and return to normal. Your veterinarian should give you a report of findings and any recommendations for home care in between cleanings.
Risks of Anesthesia Free Pet Dental Cleanings
“Anesthesia free” may seem to most like a less risky procedure for your dog or cat than a veterinary dental cleaning under anesthesia. Of course we all love our pets and are nervous about the idea of them going under anesthesia. However, when it comes to pet dental health, the risks of periodontal disease and oral health problems due to lack of proper dental care far outweigh the risk of anesthesia.
After years of anesthesia free pet dentals, this dog had lost so much bone structure due to undetected periodontal disease the probe goes through the entire jaw. This dog ended up needing 16 teeth extracted as they could not be saved.
Consider the following about anesthesia free pet dentals and Periodontal disease: