Why is anesthesia needed for a pet dental cleaning?
Many pet owners are nervous about their pets going under anesthesia, but the risk is lower than the health risks of improper dental care. You may have heard about anesthesia free dental cleanings and while it seems like a good idea, a thorough dental cleaning for your pet requires general anesthesia. An anesthesia free dental cleaning is using an instrument to scale (scrape) your pets teeth
Without anesthesia, your pet must be physically restrained.
When visiting the dentist, people understand what is going on and are able to communicate with the hygienist if they are uncomfortable or in pain. Our pets are not able to tell us if they are experiencing any pain or discomfort. While some pets tolerate restraint well, your pet is still being restrained for a lengthy period of time with no ability to understand why or what is happening to them.
Without anesthesia, your pets teeth are scaled to remove plaque on the visible part of the tooth, making the teeth appear whiter. During an anesthetic dental cleaning, your pets teeth will be polished after the scaling. Without being polished, the teeth are left with groves on the surface, allowing bacterial plaque to build up quicker. Having white teeth does not mean your pet is free from disease and does nothing to remove bacteria beneath the gum line.
Without anesthesia, it is impossible to clean your pet’s gum line. Periodontal disease is the destruction of bone, gum tissue and structures that hold the teeth in place. This disease is caused by bacterial infection that spreads underneath the gum line. Significant damage is already done by the time there are obvious signs of periodontal disease, such as bad breath, painful and loose teeth. Dogs and cats in the advanced stages of periodontal disease often require oral surgery to extract many teeth. This disease can also affect the overall health of your pet, including heart, liver and kidneys.