Beware of Anesthesia-Free Dentals

Why Should I be cautious with anesthesia-free dentals?

Some services advertise anesthesia-free dentals for pets. Please take the following into consideration when offered these services:

  • Proper dental cleaning should include a full oral exam to find problem teeth. This is done by taking x-rays and “probing” under the gum line. This careful assessment cannot be done without anesthesia.
  • Only large pieces of tartar are taken off the teeth with a scaler, which causes small scratches on the teeth. If the teeth are not polished afterwards, plaque will attach to the teeth quickly and tartar will form again even faster.
  • With anesthetic-free dentals, the visible tartar on the outside of the teeth is removed but the dental disease causing tartar under the gum line and on the tongue-side of the teeth remains!
  • Your pet may develop an aversion to having their mouth handled as a result of anesthesia-free dentals, making it impossible for you to maintain clean teeth by brushing and regular veterinary oral exams.
  • Anesthesia-free dentals can be very stressful and painful for some pets.

Please view the x-rays below to see why it is important to have your pet’s teeth cleaned under anesthetic by a veterinarian. Many of these teeth looked normal until they were x-rayed and a painful disaster was discovered!

First! Lets looks at these pearly whites! This is an x-ray of normal teeth!
This xray shows the large tooth on the bottom. An abcess has formed at the bottom of the left root and an abcess is forming on the right root. This tooth required extraction!
This xray shows the large tooth on the bottom jaw. The roots are slanted with an abscess forming at the bottom. In addition, the root on the right is fractured! There is also some decay in between the roots. This tooth required extraction!
This xray shows some bone loss. Normally the bone will hug right up into the bifurcation (see the normal xray). This is a result of severe dental disease and tartar. These teeth will need extraction.
This xray shows a Feline Oral Resporptive Lesion (FORL). This is a result of the body attacking the tooth and it is not completely known why this occurs. They appear as red/pink areas on the tooth itself and can be VERY painful.
This x-ray shows another FORL. Also the roots are starting to turn to bone (Ankylosing). Notice that the roots are not well defined like in the normal xray.