What is “anesthesia-free dentistry?”

 This is a service being provided by both lay people and a few veterinarians that allows the removal of plaque from the outer surfaces of most teeth in the upper arcade of the mouth.  The inner surfaces of the teeth and those teeth in the back of the mouth cannot be accessed adequately.  It does not clean under the gums, does not treat infection and does not improve the health of the mouth.  Anesthesia-free dentistry is a cosmetic procedure only.

Why are so many veterinarians against “anesthesia-free dentistry?”

  1. dog-teeth-level-2-3It does not treat dental disease.  When people go to have their teeth cleaned without sedation or local anesthetic, they do not have the degree of gingival inflammation and infection that our pets generally develop by the age of three years.  The cosmetic procedure done without anesthesia can give an owner a false sense that they have helped their pet.
  2. It can be dangerous.  If a pet moves its head while a sharp instrument is near the gums, the gum can be damaged and may never heal.  We see evidence of this often.  If a large piece of tartar or calculus is popped loose, your pet could inhale it and this could cause pneumonia or other infections.
  3. Serious problems can be missed.  We have seen many cases where broken teeth and even loose teeth were not noted by the cosmetic practitioners.  This caused those pets to deal with pain much longer than necessary.
  4. It hurts and can be scary!  Have you ever had your teeth cleaned while you had a canker sore in your mouth or on your lips?  That is what it feels like to have inflamed gums touched by sharp instruments.  Just because your pet holds still doesn’t mean it is pain free and happy!
  5. Read more about anesthesia-free dentistry from the American Veterinary Dental College.

What is the solution?

dental-aerial-shotAt Animal Care Clinic, we provide SAFE anesthesia, which allows a complete & extensive oral exam, periodontal therapy with the opportunity to cure infection & resolve pain, and a thorough cleaning of every tooth surface.  We believe that our anesthetic protocols are safer than an anesthesia-free dental cosmetic procedure!  We encourage pet owners to be present during our procedures because we are confident you will agree that we provide exceptionally safe and comfortable anesthesia and dental treatments.  Anesthesia allows us to thoroughly clean all surfaces of all teeth, to clean under the gums, to explore for hidden dental disease and to take dental x-rays.  Without this level of dental care, your pets are likely living with unnecessary pain and infection.  Help us to help your pets to live long and healthy lives.  Talk to us about dentistry today.

My dog, Ginger, had been experiencing signs of gum disease. Her gums were red and swollen. She was not chewing as comfortably as she had in the past. I was not surprised to hear that a cleaning with anesthetic was recommended. I had tried unsuccessfully to clean her teeth in the past. Even with my years of experience as a dental hygienist I found it impossible to effectively address a moving target, her gums could be damaged so easily without anesthesia. I wanted her treatment to actually treat the disease, not just be a cosmetic procedure. I was able to observe her cleaning at Animal Care Clinic. They monitored the anesthesia in a remarkable fashion. One staff member monitored during the entire appointment. Another trained staff member cleaned her teeth by using an ultrasonic scaler, hand held instruments, and polish. I was impressed by the thoroughness, caring and treatment Ginger received while under anesthesia. She felt much better after the treatment; she was perkier and that doggie breath disappeared! I am so thankful that I had her teeth cleaned with anesthesia so that she could have such a successful outcome! Thank you Animal Care Clinic!

– Amy Bisely, Registered Dental Hygienist (Head Hygienist at Pamela Dassenko, DDS)