How much do you know about pet dental cleanings? If you’re like most pet owners, not very much. We refer to dental cleanings performed when the dog is wide-awake as non-anesthesia cleanings, but the American Veterinary Dental College refers to them as “non-professional dental cleanings”…why? Because when conducted independently – by non-veterinarians and outside of a veterinary hospital – it’s unprofessional. Today we’re discussing five reasons why you should avoid non-anesthetic pet dental cleanings for your pet.
1) It’s difficult to reach certain areas. Generally, the outer sides of the dog’s teeth are the ones most heavily covered with tartar, and thankfully, these are also the easiest to reach. These areas are generally worse because saliva flows less here and the tongue doesn’t come in contact with these sides of the teeth. However, surfaces of the teeth facing the tongue are also important to clean and these areas get challenging, if not almost impossible, to clean on a fully conscious dog.
Under-the-gum cleaning is the most important part since under the gum is where periodontal disease thrives and in order to get a good cleaning you will need a dog that stays still, even if things get uncomfortable or painful.
2) The best tools cannot be used. When a dog is put under anesthesia, the noisy ultrasonic scaler and polisher can be used to effectively clean and polish teeth. An awake dog will be very reluctant to allow noisy, scary tools in his mouth. Hand-held scalers must be used on pets who are awake, but in order to work, they must have a sharp working edge, which can potentially cause injury.
3) A thorough evaluation cannot be performed. When a dog goes under anesthesia, his teeth can be evaluated carefully with a probe to measure pockets in the gum line and then x-rays can be taken to evaluate what cannot be seen by the naked eye. If anything is discovered during this time, it can be taken care of while the dog is asleep.
4) Preventive care isn’t started. In some cases, dogs may need antibiotics before having a dental cleaning done. This is more often seen when dogs have advanced dental disease with bleeding gums and high numbers of bacteria in the mouth and in dogs with underlying health conditions that predisposes them to a high risk of complications from dental procedures.
5) A false sense of security. One of the worst aspects of non-anesthesia pet dental cleanings is that it gives dog owners a false sense of security. They bring a dog with brown teeth to the office and pick up a dog with white teeth. Yet, they fail to understand that while the teeth look good, they’re only looking at the tip of the iceberg as 60 percent of the remaining teeth is located under the gum line, in those hard-to-reach areas.
As seen, there are several risks associated with. If your pet is in need of a professional dental cleaning – don’t take any chances – call our office today to schedule an appointment so we can protect your pet’s health!