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, allergy 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. “