Anesthesia-free pet dentistry, is gaining popularity with an increasing number of dog and cat owners. These are well-meaning pet guardians who may be fearful of anesthesia or may not be able to afford professional veterinary dental care so they opt for anesthesia-free dentistry, but it is really just a cosmetic procedure that addresses only the parts of your pet's teeth you can see.
Why Anesthesia is needed for Dental Procedures?
A thorough oral exam and cleaning can't be accomplished on a pet that is awake. Anesthesia immobilizes your dog or cat to insure their safety and cooperation during a procedure. It allows for a thorough exam of all the surfaces inside the mouth and the taking of x-rays. Anesthesia is needed for scaling below the gum line where periodontal disease is most active. Anesthesia also 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.
Many older dogs and cats that have undergone anesthesia-free dental procedures for years develop significant dental disease requiring multiple extractions as they age.