One of the most common misconceptions about Anesthetic Free Dental Cleanings is that they are the cheaper option. Yes, it’s probably true that if you go to your local groomer and ask for a quote for a dental cleaning on your pet it will likely be less than what your veterinarian quoted you. However, you have to recognize that you are comparing apples to oranges. An anesthetic dental cleaning includes intravenous fluids, general anesthesia, dental scaling and polishing, full mouth dental x-rays and full mouth assessment by a veterinarian. In comparison, anesthetic-free dental cleanings generally only include a hand scaling followed by a tooth brushing. The bottom line is, remember to ask yourself, “What am I paying for?”
We’re often asked by clients whether it’s safe for their pet to undergo a general anesthetic, especially when we’re dealing with a senior pet. I would have to say that 99% of the time our veterinarians are confident that anesthesia is a safe option. We build an anesthetic plan specifically for your pet. Age, breed, health status and blood test results combined with a pre-anesthetic examination give us the information we need to choose the safest anesthetic option. All pets undergoing general anesthesia are placed on IV fluids prior to administering anesthetic drugs and are maintained on IV for several hours after recovery. This ensures that we have immediate access to administer life-saving drugs should they become necessary. Also the fluids provide hydration, support the kidneys and help us maintain appropriate blood pressure and body warmth. We have a trained assistant dedicated to monitoring vital signs during anesthesia and recovery. Temperature, pulse, respiration, blood pressure and blood oxygenation levels are monitored and recorded. These assistants are trained to alert the Veterinarian before any of these values become a concern. General anesthesia always comes with some level of risk so we take every precaution possible as it allows us to ensure pain-free procedures with optimal low pain recovery.
If you’ve considered an anesthetic dental cleaning, you’ve probably done some research online and may have found some impressive ‘before and after’ photos. While an anesthetic-free dental cleaning may appear to have sufficiently cleaned your pet’s teeth and freed you of their bad breath, a lot of the disease lies underneath the gums. Without anesthetic, we wouldn’t be able to thoroughly and safely clean, chart, and x-ray your pet’s mouth. Sixty percent of the tooth is located under the gum line, you can’t see pathology without radiographs, and your pet isn’t able to tell us where the pain comes from.