Regular dental visits are critical for your furry friend(s). You might be more familiar with dental cleanings involving anesthesia, however, anesthesia-free teeth cleaning for pets is growing across the country. But, is it a reasonable alternative? Here is more information on anesthesia-free teeth cleaning for pets.
What Is Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaning?
Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning involves scaling, when a veterinarian scrapes teeth with a dental instrument, without anesthesia. To achieve this, your pet must be physically restrained -- some more than others. Animals generally don’t have any understanding of what’s going on during the procedure, which can be stressful.
Anesthesia-free cleaning is also called a non-professional dental scaling, or NPDS. Some pet owners are more open to anesthesia-free cleaning because it lowers the cost of the cleaning.
Anesthesia is costly because it requires an examination beforehand. This ensures your dog is healthy enough to handle anesthesia. Things can get complicated if your dog is older or had health issues in the past.
Things to Consider with Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaning for Pets
Pet owners might stray away from medicating their pet. But, professionals argue that it can actually be more uncomfortable for them. The procedure involves scraping your pet’s teeth, which your pet might not tolerate comfortably.
If you have a rescue pet who has experienced abuse, consider using anesthesia to relax them.
Going anesthesia-free also means the vet can’t clean places that are harder to reach. These include the inner-tooth surface and under the gum line. Your pet’s smile may look better, but their mouth won’t be healthier if the vet can't remove all the plaque.
The American Veterinary Dental College has stated their opposition to non-anesthesia dentistry for pets. The procedure is “unacceptable and below the standard of care," writes the AVDC.
“Even slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts,” according to the statement. Also, “access to the sub-gingival area of every tooth is impossible in an un-anesthetized canine or feline patient.”
When considering a veterinary dental cleaning, ask about full anesthesia protocol. Veterinary anesthesia protocol should include a trained veterinary technician. They will monitor your dog’s vitals and help keep your pet warm with blankets during the procedure.
Additionally, you can ask for the practice’s anesthetic safety record for additional security!
Anesthesia isn’t 100% risk-free. But, the consequences of an improper cleaning without anesthesia can be more dangerous and costlier long-term.