While anesthesia free dentistry is advertised as a safe alternative for cleaning a pet’s teeth, the fact is that a complete dental evaluation and cleaning cannot be properly done in an awake pet. Dental imaging of the entire mouth cannot be obtained without some level of sedation. A light level of anesthesia is required to clean below the gum line probe around the teeth as well as to protect the airway from calculus, debris, and water associated with the cleaning. The anesthesia also allows complete visualization of areas of the mouth such as under the tongue and the tonsil area.
Anesthesia- free dentistry involves the pet being restrained while sharp dental instruments are used in the mouth. This can be very stressful and painful for the pet. Pathologic fracture of the jaw has been reported in small dogs due to the lack of diagnostics and appropriate treatment of periodontal disease. The American Veterinary Dental College does not support the practice of anesthesia-free dentistry.
View the AVD policy here: