Does My Pet Need Anesthesia?

Why is General Anesthesia Needed?
Put simply, having your pet under general anesthesia allows us to clean not only the visible surface of the teeth, but also the tooth surface that sits below the gumline.  No dental cleaning is complete without addressing this potentially bacteria-laden area.  In fact, removing tartar just from the visible surface of the teeth may make them look whiter, but it does not address the root cause of periodontal disease and ensuing bone loss from the bacteria that lodges below the gumline.  But there are many other reasons as well:

When your pet is under anesthesia, he or she is unaware of, and therefore not scared or stressed over, the oral exam and treatment we provide.  Your pet receives a sedative and simply falls asleep, awakening once the procedure is completely over.  An added benefit is that our doctors and technicians don't risk being bitten by an understandably fearful pet!

Having your pet under general anesthesia allows us to deliver appropriate medications, including analgesics, nerve blocking and anti-inflammatories to address any potential pain related to inflamed gums or cavities, before we provide any treatment.  Because your pet is under anesthesia, we can generally complete any treatment needed right away, rather than requiring a second visit.

We place a small tube down your pet's throat, just like in human surgery, to protect the airway from bacteria-laden tartar that is removed from the teeth.  This tube also allows us to reliably delivery oxygen and anesthesia to ensure your pet's safety and comfort.

Because your pet is unconscious and relaxed, we can perform a thorough exam of the entire mouth, something that is nearly impossible on a conscious pet.  Our technicians examine every tooth surface and probe every area of the gums, looking for diseased tissue, cavities, and other problems.

The teeth are cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler, and then polished to a smooth surface, a step that is generally skipped in so-called "anesthesia-free dental cleanings."  Polishing is a vital step because removing the tartar from the teeth causes microscopic etches in the tooth surface which creates an ideal environment for plaque and tarter to adhere again.  Polishing smooths the surface of the tooth and decreases the adhesive ability of plaque.

To ensure your pet is a good candidate for anesthesia, we perform blood tests that help us to assess the health of vital organs.  And your pet is monitored 100% of the time he or she is under anesthesia by state of the art equipment and trained, skilled veterinary professionals.

It is important to note that the American Veterinary Dental Society
states that "'Non-anesthetic' cleaning is not a viable option," because of the many reasons listed above.