When a pet’s teeth become diseased, all the brushing and diets and additives in the world cannot remove the hard tartar that has accumulated. Just like us, a dental scaling and polishing must be done to remove the accumulated tartar to start fresh.
Unfortunately, to clean teeth safely, completely and efficiently, all pets (and some people!) need to be anesthetized. We strongly recommend that no animal have an “awake” dental cleaning performed.
Here are the reasons why our Doctors recommend your furry friend be anesthetized for their dental cleaning:
- It hurts! Most pets that need a dental cleaning have Stage 2 or more Periodontal disease. Picking and fussing with their sore gums and sensitive teeth hurts and they don’t understand why you are doing it.
- Dental instruments are sharp. Removing firm tartar and sticky plaque requires instruments that are hard, metal and pointy. Pets have difficulty sitting still and are typically not comfortable with us sticking our fingers and metal objects in their mouths. Severe damage can be done to the pet and person involved.
- Tartar is very firm and difficult to remove. It binds closely to the enamel and creates a rough surface that promotes more tartar. Removing it without the proper leverage can break a tooth, and at best leave a very rough surface that irritates the lips and promotes even more tartar accumulation.
- Plaque and tartar accumulation starts below the gum line. To fully clean teeth, an ultrasonic scaling below the gum line must be done.
- Each tooth must be measured and evaluated for gingival pocket depth and root health. This is impossible to do while the pet is awake, and severe dental issues can be missed if a proper evaluation isn’t done. This causes needless pain for extended periods of time. We want to do it right the first time!
- Teeth can be removed immediately when they are anesthetized. This provides immediate relief of tooth pain.
- Polishing and fluoride treatments are toxic if ingested, but are extremely important for tooth health and prevention of periodontal disease. While asleep, we are able to perform a mouthwash, polish, fluoride treatment and rinse safely.