Does my pet really NEED anesthesia for a dental?


There is a new trend happening at groomers and pet stores: the "anesthesia-free" dental cleanings.

For some, this sounds like a wonderful alternative to going to the Veterinarian or avoiding anesthesia, but the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) is warning Pet owners about the dangers associated with this trend:

Reasons not to Choose Anesthesia-Free Dentals for Your Pet

Those that provide Anesthesia Free Dentistry or No Anesthesia Dentistry (NAD) would like you to believe by removing visible tartar from the teeth they are improving oral health. This is just not the case and the AVDC wants you to consider the following reasons not to choose an anesthesia free dental for your pet:

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.

Those that provide Anesthesia Free Dentistry or No Anesthesia Dentistry (NAD) would like you to believe by removing visible tartar from

the teeth they are improving oral health. This is just not the case.

The AVDC wants you to consider the following reasons not to

choose an anesthesia free dental for your pet:

  • Scaling (scraping surface of the tooth with an instrument) the plaque and tartar from the outside surfaces of the teeth does not remove the plaque and bacteria from beneath your pet’s gumline and does not decrease the risk of your pet getting periodontal disease. Consider this, the same level of “gross” build up you see on your pet’s teeth, is also thriving beneath their gumline where you can’t see it or the damage it’s doing. Cleaning and scaling below the gum line is most important because it’s where periodontal disease is most active. This can’t be done without anesthesia.

  • Anesthesia free dental cleanings require your pet to be restrained while the visible tartar is removed. In some cases this is stressful and painful. It is not fair to put your beloved dog or cat through the process without anesthesia.

  • There are few visible signs of periodontal infection before it has progressed too far to treat and save teeth. Anesthesia is needed to best evaluate periodontal disease with the help of a dental probe and x-ray examination to truly sense what is going on below the gumline.

  • A thorough oral health exam can’t be done on a dog or cat that is awake. During a thorough oral health exam, all surfaces of your pet’s mouth are evaluated and radiographs are taken. This allows a veterinarian to identify painful problems including broken teeth, periodontal disease or even oral tumors. An oral health exam and x-rays can’t be done on an awake pet.

  • Teeth that have been scaled and not polished are a prime breeding ground for more bacteria growth which perpetuates oral disease.

  • Anesthesia free dental cleanings provide no benefit to your pet and do not prevent periodontal disease at any level. In fact, it gives you a false sense of security as a pet owner that because the teeth look whiter that they are healthier.

  • The costs of anesthesia free dental cleanings are cheap to begin with. The ultimate costs to both your wallet, and pet’s dental health, are far more of an expense.

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