Our Take On:

Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleanings

 

When Dr. Sivula recommends a dental cleaning, many clients are concerned about anesthesia risks - particularly with senior pets. In some cases, they've been advised that mild dental disease doesn't require a full dental cleaning and sufficient results can be achieved through an anesthesia-free or "standing" dental. The fee for this type of procedure is generally lower, making it a very appealing alternative for pet owners. Unfortunately, "standing" dentals are far from complete - and can even be dangerous.

 

Not all surfaces of the tooth are cleaned.

In order for a dental to be beneficial, it must include a total removal of all plaque and tartar. This includes the inside surface of the tooth and the spaces between teeth, as well as along and just below the gum line. It is highly unlikely that this can be achieved without sedation or anesthesia. During "standing" dentals, only the visible portions of the teeth are cleaned, giving you a false sense of security when it comes to your pet's oral health.

 

A thorough dental exam is impossible.

A complete investigation of the mouth is essential when it comes to assessing the status of your pet's oral health. Without this exam, subtle problems can go undetected until they become serious and more difficult to treat. A comprehensive evaluation of the teeth and gums is simply not possible on a pet who is conscious.

 

The teeth are not polished.

 Dental scaling and removal of plaque and tartar are only half of a dental cleaning; an important step includes a polish to smooth the tooth surface. "Standing" dentals often scratch the tooth surface, and these grooves leave the tooth even more plaque-retentive than before.


There is a significant risk for injury.

Removing plaque and tartar from a pet's teeth requires highly specialized dental tools which often have sharp edges. It's perfectly natural for a cat or dog to wiggle and jerk while being restrained, and this can easily lead to damage of the delicate gums, cheek and tongue.

 

They impact the success of home care.

A "standing" dental can be very uncomfortable for a pet, making them head-shy or even resistant to having their teeth examined and treated. This can make home care programs like tooth brushing much more difficult to implement.

 


 

How Traditional Dentals Have Changed

 

Without a doubt, there is risk associated with any procedure; however, advancements have been made in anesthesia and monitoring in veterinary medicine, making dental cleanings safer than ever.

 

  • At Dancing Paws, we use human grade anesthesias (Propofol and Isoflurane). These are more easily metabolized by the body, even by senior pets with stable organ disease. The recovery from these drugs is rapid, and patients are often bright and awake much faster.

  • We also employ aggressive main management protocols to ensure your dog or cat remains comfortable. It's more than just thoughtful medicine; pain and inflammation inhibit healing and prolong recovery.

  • During surgery, we closely monitor your pet's respirations, heart rate and oxygen saturation to make sure they're doing well. Dr. Sivula is always present to supervise and perform any necessary extractions or evaluations.

  • A dedicated general surgery staff member admits, preps and monitors patients. They recover the patients after surgery, then return them to a comfortable and well-padded cage in a high traffic area. Patients are closely and regularly monitored by numerous veterinary support staff members, who are highly trained to assess vitals and comfort level. A veterinarian is always at the hospital, and informs Dr. Sivula of any changes in our patients over the course of the day.


 

Forgoing Dental Cleanings

 

Regular dentals are about more than white teeth and fresh breath; there is serious risk associated with leaving dental disease untreated.

There are significant chances that your pet will develop infections, or become painful.

Copious tartar and gum inflammation are a constant source of bacteria, which is released into the blood stream. This puts a heavy burden on vital organs like the heart, liver and kidneys, and can put your pet at serious risks for developing secondary diseases.

 

Putting off a dental cleaning until it is emergent complicates both the procedure and the recovery, and just isn't worth the gamble with your pet's health and comfort.