Anesthesia-free dental clinics have been making their appearances in many cities around North America, including Medicine Hat. And although it sounds like an appealing option for our precious canine companions, we are here to say that anesthesia-free dental cleanings ONLY provide a cosmetic outcome and do nothing to decrease or slow down the progression of dental disease in their mouths. Here’s why:
Most of us humans get our teeth cleaned and examined at least once a year. Now, let’s think about sitting in that chair, holding our mouth open, having our gums probed, and our teeth scaled and polished. Sometimes it can be painful, especially since the instruments used to clean teeth are very sharp, and sometimes we may have some mild gingivitis which can make cleaning more painful.
So, we humans know WHY we are at the dentists, and WHY we lie down and open our mouths, and WHY a person is up close to our faces and has sharp instruments in our mouths. We also know to stay as still as possible. And we can tell our hygienist and dentist that our mouth hurts. Some humans are so scared of the dentist, that even though they know what is happening, they still request sedation or to be completely put under.
So the question is, how do you think our pets feel during an anesthetic free dental? A pet does not know why they are being put on their back and their mouth opened, and they cannot tell the person that their mouth hurts in certain places.
Now, let’s go to the medical side of why we have our teeth cleaned: To prevent plaque and calculus build up which creates inflamed and painful gums (gingivitis) and the break down of tissues that support teeth. Most of our pets, by the time we realize they need their teeth cleaned, already have gingivitis and calculus on the teeth.
Teeth need to be cleaned above (what we can see) and below (what we cannot see) the gumline. When the calculus is already there, that means there is a pocket that is created between the gumline and tooth, and therefore plaque is under the gumline which is eating away at the bone and periosteal ligaments around the tooth.
During an anesthetic free dental, the teeth above the gumline are cleaned pearly white. So therefore, owners believe that their pet’s mouth is now healthy and clean. This is not the case because the teeth cannot be cleaned under the gumline. The plaque is then left to continue to eat away at the bone and tissues surrounding the tooth, while the tooth itself looks “healthy”. This can be shown with dental x-rays that can be taken in an anesthetized patient.
Making the decision to place your pet under anesthetic can be scary. We want what is BEST for your pet. And we are here for you, their owner. Overall mouth health, when compromised, can be a gateway to affecting other vital organs negatively (such as the kidneys, liver, heart, and lungs). Please, come talk to us if you are unsure if your pet is safe to go under anesthetic, or if your pet needs a dental intervention.
If you are unsure about your pet’s mouth health, a dental consult with a registered veterinary technician can be made at our clinic where our techs can examine your pet’s mouth, and go over any questions or concerns you may have.
We are ALWAYS here for you AND your pet!