Dental FAQs

Why can't I do anesthesia free dentistry with my pet? I would like to avoid the anesthesia.

There are several reasons why anesthesia free (non-professional) dentistry is not recommended. One of the first reasons to avoid this type of service is that most people offering this service aren’t trained medical professionals.

Even when the company has apparently trained individuals, the treatment is considered a cosmetic procedure only. In other words, real dental disease is often not treated. Without anesthesia, only the plaque, tartar, and calculus that is on the visible surface of the teeth is removed. However, plaque, tartar, and calculus that is below the gumline and on the inside of the tooth is not properly removed. In a professional setting, scaling involves the meticulous removal of calculus with the use of an ultrasonic scaler on all surfaces of the tooth above and below the gumline. This is then followed by polishing. If proper polishing is skipped, the tooth will be rough and tartar and calculus will build up even faster.

With anesthesia free dentistry, proper examination , measurements, and dental x-rays can not be taken. Just like with your teeth, proper diagnosis of dental disease requires x-rays. During a professional procedure, measurements of pockets of each tooth should be taken and recorded. Without proper examination and diagnostics, dental disease will be missed and go untreated.

Finally, when a cleaning is attempted without anesthesia, the safety and well-being of the pet is not always the primary objective. During the awake cleaning process, the pet may be stressed due to the restraint. Removal of plaque involves the use of sharp instruments. If your pet moves, they may be injured. When performed correctly, anesthesia is considered safe. Prior to anesthesia, thorough examination and lab work should be performed to fully assess your pet’s health. Please visit our page on anesthesia and pain management for more information.

Unfortunately, we have seen many well-meaning owners who believe they are taking care of their pets by providing anesthesia free cleanings. Then the owners start noticing bad breath, slower eating, or teeth falling out. It is not until a proper examination by a veterinarian is performed that severe dental disease is noted. It is much easier and less expensive to prevent dental disease by providing proper care than to treat advanced periodontal disease.

To read more about why non-professional dentistry is not recommended, please go to the AVDC website.

My pet is older, is anesthesia safe?

Anesthesia in otherwise healthy, older pets is considered very safe. Compared to a puppy or kitten, an older, healthy pet has a similar risk level. It is important to have recommended pre-operative testing performed prior to anesthesia to check major organ function and proper blood levels. Please visit our page on anesthesia and pain management for more information.

My pet has a history of a bad reaction to anesthesia, is anesthesia safe?

It depends what originally caused the problem. Often, the type of medications and amounts used can be adjusted. Anesthesia should be customized to each patient. We try to use fast acting medication to promote fast recovery and less side-effects. We also use local pain control, similar to the Novocain shots humans receive at the dentist, to decrease the overall amount of anesthesia medications necessary. If needed, our board-certified anesthesiologist can also be consulted or attend to your pet’s anesthesia.

My pet has kidney and heart disease, is anesthesia safe?

It depends on the type and severity of the disease. Prior to anesthesia, patients with kidney disease should be fully evaluated with blood tests, urinalysis, and possible ultrasound. Cardiology patients should also undergo lab work and echocardiogram (ultrasound of the heart). Recommendations can be made based on full diagnostics. Often times in patients with systemic disease, our board-certified anesthesiologist can be consulted or attend to your pet’s anesthesia.

How much does a dental cleaning cost?

Because each pet is different, it is difficult to give a treatment plan over the phone or on our website. Each patient is treated as an individual and each patient may receive different anesthesia medications. Also, the degree of dental disease varies quite a bit from patient to patient so cleaning times can vary greatly. Sometimes x-rays or other treatment is also recommended. To get the best idea of cost, an initial consultation is advised.

How much does it cost to extract a tooth?

Each tooth is different within your pet’s mouth. Therefore, some teeth are more difficult to extract than others. Also, the presence of certain conditions like periodontal disease or root fractures can change the difficulty of the extraction procedure. To get the best idea of cost, an initial consultation is recommended.

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