Our answer: Ahh, don’t get me going on this one :o). I’m always so excited when owners ask about this because I love to talk about it! In my opinion (and in the opinion of the American Veterinary Dental Society), this process could be considered malpractice. The reasons are vast but a few of my favorites include:
~ The high risk of aspiration. Think of all the suctioning that occurs during your dental cleaning. Your pet MUST have a protected airway to prevent debris and fluid from traveling into the lungs.
~ Subgingival cleaning is next to impossible to achieve without full anesthesia. This is the scaling and polishing that occurs underneath the gumline where a significant amount of tartar and bacteria can develop.
~ The safety of our staff. A non-anesthetized patient can be roused easily.
~ The thoroughness of the treatment. It is impossible to perform thorough charting, radiographs, scaling and polishing without full anesthesia.
If you’re having your pet’s teeth cleaned it is obviously because you want what is best for them. Sedation dentistry is no where near the best. Whew! Can you believe that is my shortened version!?!?
(Check out this great article for a more thorough explanation. Beware there are some slightly graphic pictures at the end.)