When you have your pet’s teeth cleaned, it’s obvious that you want what’s best for them. You may have noticed ads for sedation dentistry or even “anesthesia-free dentistry.” While many pet owners may express concern about using anesthesia on their pets, this sort of ad plays on fears and is actually dangerous. In fact, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society this process could be considered malpractice.

Here are a few of the reasons that sedation dentistry is a far cry from what’s best:
1. Risky breathing business. Think of how often your mouth was suctioned during your last dental cleaning. Now imagine that same procedure on an animal that doesn’t understand what’s going on. It’s absolutely necessary that your pet has a protected airway to prevent fluid from traveling to the lungs.
2. Cleaning teeth in a moving mouth: impossible! Cleaning teeth coated with tartar and plaque takes time, skill and the proper training. It also takes tools like power scalers and hand instruments with sharp edges. One tiny move of the head could mean injury for the patient. A roused patient (whether a normally sweet kitten or a Doberman) could easily bite the nearest hand.
3. Licensed to clean. Your vet is trained to administer anesthesia to your pet based on his size and health assessment. The vet team continually monitors your pet during the entire procedure for your pet’s safety and your peace of mind.
4.Under the gum. Scaling and polishing beneath the animal’s gum line would be next to impossible without anesthesia. For many patients, the tartar and bacteria below the gum line is much greater than what we can see above the gum line. Cleaning only what’s seen (above the gum line) is purely cosmetic and ignores what will certainly turn into a bigger health issue affecting heart, lungs or kidneys.
5. The whole tooth. Examining the inner part of the mouth (e.g. tongue and back side of teeth), charting teeth, and taking x-rays would all be virtually impossible without properly administered anesthesia.
6. Safe at last. We want your pet to be safe, and we want our staff to stay safe as well. The best way to be sure of that is for your pet to be under anesthesia while having a dental cleaning.

While you may have your teeth cleaned twice a year, your pet only needs a cleaning at your vet’s recommendation. To spread out those professional cleanings, don’t forget to brush your pet’s teeth at least three times a week and preferably daily. If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment, give Town N Country a call.