Anesthesia-free methods DO NOT provide the opportunity for thorough cleaning or for proper examination of the oral cavity. Anesthesia-free handscaling etches the tooth, setting up a matrix upon which new bacteria and saliva and food particles can take root more easily. Anesthesia-free handscaling does not clean under the gum line, nor the interdental space, nor the inside of the teeth—along the inner arcade and anesthesia-free handscaling allows bacteria to gain entrance into the blood stream when the gums are nicked with the dental tool. The American Veterinary Dental College position paper on anesthesia free tooth scaling states that “Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has little effect on a pet’s health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment. The effect is purely cosmetic.
Inhalation anesthesia using a cuffed endotracheal tube provides three important advantages…the cooperation of the patient with a procedure it does not understand, elimination of pain resulting from examination and treatment of affected dental tissues during the procedure, and protection of the airway and lungs from accidental aspiration.”
While the California Veterinary Practice Act prevents non-veterinarians from performing dental cleanings and scaling, even within the profession there is a great variability. Having a veterinarian supervise non-anesthetic dental procedures done in a grooming parlor, or a boarding facility, offers minimal, if any, benefit over a non-veterinarian performing this procedure. The net result is still, a“ false sense of accomplishment. The effect is purely cosmetic. “
In keeping with the recommendations from the American Animal Health Association, the American Veterinary Dental College, and our personal ethical interpretation to practice medicine to the highest standard, we perform complete oral health assessments, treatments, and planning on anesthetized pets. Under the appropriate anesthetic protocol for your pet, with intravenous fluids delivered at all times during anesthesia, we clean and scale the entire tooth-the inner surface, the outer surface, between the teeth, and under the gumline. We note and chart and problems with the tooth and gums in that area, and we take radiographs to evaluate for disease under the gum line. The pet is provided with antibiotics and pain relief, because by the time we see most of these patients, there is significant periodontal disease present. Our doctors and registered veterinary technicians are skilled in dental cleaning and polishing, radiology and radiology interpretation, appropriate dental charting, and appropriate anesthesia management. [/box]