Dentistry, like surgery or any other aspect of Veterinary medicine requires extensive in depth knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology in order to provide a diagnosis or carry out necessary treatments. In order to take dental radiographs or probe beneath the gum line to check for pockets and other anomalies patients must be immobile and unable to feel pain or stimulus. A general anaesthetic is essential to perform such examinations and carry out treatments.
So what is an anaesthetic free dental cleaning?
Anaesthesia free dentals have recently been promoted by groomers or other non professionals with little to no training in the field. Promoting these cosmetic procedures can often give pet owners a false sense of security when it comes to the hygiene of their pet’s mouth.
The procedure entails forceful, physical restraint of the animal while an untrained person uses sharp, metal tools to scrape plaque and tartar off the crown of the tooth. Scraping teeth in this way forces oral bacteria straight into the blood stream via vessels in the mouth and also causes microscopic grooves and fissures on the tooth. These grooves create a hotspot for bacteria to accumulate. Aside from the negative behavioural and physiological effects this can have on the animal, the procedure can be very painful especially if gingivitis or periodontal disease is already present.
With anaesthesia free dental cleaning it is impossible to use an ultrasonic scaler to clean underneath the gum line and this is where the plaque and tartar starts to form. It is also impossible to use a periodontal probe under the gum line to check for pockets and without doing this major degenerative changes can be missed. Below are x-ray images taken from a 2 year old cat one year after having an anaesthetic free dental cleaning. It is easy to see how receded the bone has become and most of the teeth are mobile. The red line on the first image shows where the alveolar bone should sit and the yellow line indicates where it is actually sitting. The roots of the teeth are exposed and some are loose causing unnecessary pain and discomfort.
The Australian Veterinary Association does not endorse anaesthesia free dental cleanings. Read the link below for more detailed information. http://www.ava.com.au/node/85991
If you have concerns about your pet’s teeth please call us on 99642828 and book in for a free nurse dental check.