Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings

Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings

Many pet owners are concerned about the safety of general anesthesia and wonder why it is necessary for their pet’s dental procedure, especially when “anesthesia free dentistry” is advertised as a safe alternative.  When your pet is anesthetized for a professional dental cleaning, it allows the doctor to visualize and probe every surface of every tooth and examine difficult to see areas, like the tonsils and under the tongue. It also allows diagnostic imaging (such as dental radiographs and cone beam CT) to be performed safely for the pet as well as the staff. And just as importantly, it allows for a thorough cleaning of all surfaces of the teeth, both above and below the gumline while the airway is protected from bacteria-laden tartar.

Without general anesthesia, significant and painful pathology will be missed. Anesthesia- free dentistry requires that the pet be restrained while sharp instruments are used in the mouth. This experience can be extremely stressful and painful for the pet. There is no opportunity for diagnostic imaging or removal of subgingival plaque and tartar, the cause of periodontal disease. In extreme cases, small dogs have suffered pathologic fracture of the jaw due to the lack of diagnostics and appropriate treatment of periodontal disease. Neither the American Veterinary Dental CollegeTM nor the Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine support the practice of anesthesia free dentistry. For more details on their policy statements, please see the links below.

State Board of Veterinary Medicine: Laws, Rules and Policies | Division of Professions and Occupations (

Anesthesia Free Pet Dental Cleanings – Pet Health – AVDC

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