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.