By now, you’ve learned some interesting facts about maintaining your pet’s health and wellness. Most adult pets will need a teeth cleaning and maybe extraction work and oral surgery to counter the effects of periodontal disease. We would like to share a few reasons why we need to perform this dental teeth cleaning, oral exam and radiographs under anesthesia. Our friends at the American Veterinary Medical Association created this helpful information:
A Comprehensive Oral Exam, Cleaning, & Radiographs is Only Possible with Anesthesia
Unlike humans, dogs and cats will not remain still with their mouth open for the duration of an oral exam, teeth cleaning and digital dental radiographs. A thorough oral examination can be uncomfortable or even painful if periodontal disease is present. In an effective dental cleaning, veterinary professionals use an ultrasonic scaler to clean the teeth and under the gum line. Water is used to flush away debris that can cause infection. Anesthesia ensures your pet’s comfort, safety, and compliance during this procedure and protects our staff from bites.
If Used Improperly, Scraping Tools Can Cause Damage to Teeth & Gums
The scraping tool often used by non-veterinary providers is a hand scaler, which can cauase scarring and pitting of the tooth enamel. These instruments can lacerate the soft gum tissue if the scaler slips or the patient moves, which is likely without sedation.
Cleaning Only Visible Surfaces of the Teeth is Not Effective Against Disease
Cleaning the tooth surfaces under the gum line is the most critical part of a dental procedure; this is where periodontal disease is active. Without sedation, it is not possible to properly clean under the gum line with any tool. While the visible areas of the teeth my look clean after a non-anesthetic procedure, without the flushing action of professional ultrasonic scaling and polishing, hand instruments can leave bits of plaque and calculus behind. The bacteria in plaque can lead to periodontal disease as well has heart, lung, and kidney damage. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, “removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a pet’s health and provides a false sense of accomplishment.” The AVDC advises pet owners against a non-professional veterinary cleaning on an unanesthetized pet.