Like most of us, our pets are not exactly thrilled about a dental either. First, it is very uncomfortable; second, they don’t know that it’s for their own good. Without anesthesia, it is thus virtually impossible to clean dogs’ and cats’ teeth. At least not as thoroughly as necessary.
The Benefits of Anesthesia Outweigh the Risks
Anesthesia always poses some risk of complications and it’s completely normal to be concerned about your pet’s safety. However, the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) and the majority of veterinarians agree that its benefits far outweigh the risks.
PROS OF PET TEETH CLEANING UNDER ANESTHESIA INCLUDE:
Thorough removal of dental plaque and tartar. Even though the so-called anesthesia-free dental cleaning claims to be just as effective (but a lot safer and less expensive), it isn’t an alternative to dental cleaning under anesthesia. What is more, it can cause more harm than good. The thing is that it’s impossible to thoroughly remove plaque and tartar if the animal is not anesthetized. This is especially true for the area below the gum line where the plaque is causing the greatest harm. Your pet’s mouth may appear clean, but it’s not clean.
Less stress and discomfort for the animal. No dog or cat will allow teeth cleaning without anesthesia unless being physically restrained. Besides the stress due to prolonged restriction, an animal that is not anesthetized may also experience severe psychological stress because they don’t understand what is going on. The last but not the least important, dental cleaning can be very uncomfortable and even painful. Anesthesia eliminates most of the stress and makes teeth cleaning a completely painless procedure.
Less expensive in the long term. Although anesthesia-free dental cleaning is supposed to be less expensive, in the long term, it can cost you much more than having your pet anesthetized. This is because in anesthesia-free dental cleaning, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease are not removed from below the gum line. As a result, the disease can quickly spread to the tooth root or in the bone, which can be very expensive to treat. Also, without anesthesia, the veterinarian can’t make a thorough exam of the mouth, throat, and tongue or perform other dental procedures.
THE CONS? THE RISK OF COMPLICATIONS ALBEIT EXTREMELY LOW
Unfortunately, anesthesia isn’t entirely risk-free. The good news is that complications are extremely rare. To help reduce the risk of complications to the minimum and ensure that anesthesia doesn’t pose a health threat to the animal, every pet is examined and evaluated for their health status and physical condition before being anesthetized. Also, the progress of veterinary medicine including anesthesia in recent years further reduced the risk of complications.
Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to understand both the benefits and risks of pet teeth cleaning under anesthesia. Here at Crossroads Veterinary Hospital we have a technician whose only job is to monitor the patient while they are under for the procedure. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to ask your veterinarian.