The Risks of Pet Dental Treatment without Anesthesia

The Risks of Pet Dental Treatment without Anesthesia 

The use of anesthesia always carries a slight risk of complications, but going without anesthesia for pet dental care is even riskier. Without anesthesia, it is not possible to perform a thorough cleaning or obtain x-rays. Without dental X-rays you will miss painful problems in many pets. Non-anesthetic pet teeth cleanings also have a higher risk of accidental injuries.

Although it can be scary to think of your pet being put under anesthesia, it’s really in their best interest when it comes to their dental care. We know how you feel, and that’s why you can expect only the safest anesthetic protocols at Montana Pet Dental. A doctor directs all of the anesthesia and there is always one experienced technician whose only job is to continually monitor your pet during their procedure.

The Risks of Non-Anesthetic Pet Teeth Cleanings

An anesthesia-free cleaning is not a full cleaning. Also referred to as “anesthesia free dentistry”, this treatment only involves removing visible calculus above the gumline while your pet is awake and restrained. Although your pet’s mouth looks cleaner, it’s not actually a clean mouth. Calculus above the gumline actually causes very few problems. It is the calculus and areas of bone loss hidden below the gum line that cause most of the pathology in pets.

Anesthesia free cleaning cannot effectively remove plaque and bacteria below the gum line, especially in the teeth in the back of the mouth. Cleaning underneath the gum line is simply not possible without anesthesia.

Using anesthesia allows the veterinary dentist to conduct thorough dental examinations and take dental X-rays. Without dental X-rays you will miss a lot of painful problems while they may still be treatable. Periodontal infections might not be apparent on a conscious exam until they have progressed so far that it’s too late to save or treat the affected teeth. 

Why We Use Anesthesia for Pet Dental Treatments

Anesthesia during pet dental treatments makes the procedure easy, fear-free,  painless and allows us to take the radiographs necessary to identify serious problems. If your pet moves around during the procedure, they risk damage to their oral tissues from the sharp instruments used for cleaning. In many cases, pets are restrained because the procedure is painful. Can you imagine being wrapped up in restraining devices while someone did something in your mouth that was painful? Anesthesia helps us treat dental problems completely, without risking any accidents. 

If managed properly, the anesthetic risks are very minimal. Pre-anesthetic blood work helps us identify potential problems before they occur. We also use IV fluids during anesthetized pet dental procedures (can you imagine a person being anesthetized without an IV?) and monitor your pet’s blood pressure, CO2 levels, ECG and blood oxygenation until they have fully recovered. 

There are new injectable and inhalation (gas) agents that can significantly decrease the effects of the anesthetic episode and allow your pet to “wake up” much faster. Many of our patients are 10-15 years of age, and are ready to go home, acting normally, less than one hour after their  procedure. 

Veterinary Dentist in Bozeman, Montana

Without regular, in-depth dental treatments, periodontal disease can ravage your pet’s mouth. This painful infection causes severe pain and tooth loss, which can affect your pet’s vitality and quality of life. 

Non anesthetic pet teeth cleanings do not help to prevent periodontal disease! Taking care of your pet’s teeth at home and scheduling routine, anesthetized cleanings with a skilled veterinary dentist are the only ways to prevent periodontal disease. To schedule your pet’s next dental cleaning, contact us today.


Images used under Creative Commons License (Pexels) September 22, 2021