Pet Owners Beware

Pet Owners Beware of NON-Professional Anesthesia-Free Teeth Cleaning

We are seeing more dogs that have had anesthesia-free pet dentistry. Unfortunately, many of these pets have serious dental problems that go undiagnosed and improperly treated. These are well-meaning pet owners who may be fearful of anesthesia or can’t afford professional veterinary dental care, so they opt for anesthesia-free teeth scaling.

Non-anesthetic dental scaling is really just a cosmetic procedure that addresses only the visible surfaces of a pet’s teeth. However, periodontal disease affects all surfaces of the teeth and is especially active under the gum line. This infection is not addressed with non-anesthetic dentistry and gives a false sense of accomplishment.

These pets continue to suffer for years with low-grade dental pain until eventually they are unable to eat due to oral pain. The owners are then forced to pay for extensive oral-dental surgery to treat the advanced infection. This costs the pet owner more money and the dog or cat will often need many teeth extracted.

Your pet’s teeth may look clean on the outside but periodontal plaque and disease causing bacteria are left behind under the gum line! This procedure is against the law in many states. All pets, regardless of age, need to be anesthetized for their teeth and entire mouth to be examined, cleaned, charted and x-rayed thoroughly and safely.

Our veterinarians are trained to administer anesthesia properly, and anesthetic drugs are much safer than in the past. This way, complete removal of plaque and tartar is completed as well as any additional problems detected. In our practice, it is commonplace to find oral tumors that would not have been found in a non-anesthetic cleaning.

With many of these tumors being malignant, finding them early is imperative. We have saved at least one dog’s life this year from a malignant melanoma found early enough to cure during professional dentistry. We also can find and treat sub gingival pocketing, cavities, bone resorption, oral foreign bodies (also a common unexpected finding), and dental fractures with our patients under anesthesia.

As discussed above, preoperative lab work and thorough monitoring techniques are always in place at OCSAC, and we almost always employ digital dental radiography. In our opinion, it is irresponsible to perform dentistry and certainly dental extractions or oral surgery without X-rays. We have developed a robust dentistry practice at OCSAC because we believe in the benefits of good oral health and strive to do it in the way we feel is right for our patients.

For more information about Non-anesthetic Dentistry (NAD), visit the American Veterinary Dental College, at

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