Why Does Our Hospital Not Offer Anesthesia-free Dentistry?

We are against non-anesthetic teeth cleaning, as it is an illegal practice when not performed by a licensed veterinarian in California and potentially dangerous to your pet.  Anesthesia-free dental cleanings unfortunately give many pet owners a false sense of security.  The pet’s teeth may appear cleaner and whiter, but that does not mean periodontal disease and any other underlying oral issues are gone.  Imagine going to your local nail salon or hairstylist to have your teeth “professionally” cleaned.  Is it the same procedure if you go to an actual dentist?  Think about it.

The Pet Hospital of Peñasquitos in San Diego, CA offers valid points about non-anesthetic teeth cleaning on their website.  Here is the excerpt:

“First of all it is difficult, if not impossible, to properly clean the teeth in an awake animal. It takes us about 45 minutes to clean, polish and seal the teeth after the patient is anesthetized, all our monitoring equipment is attached and we are ready to start cleaning. No animal wants to be forcibly held down while you work in their mouth for 45 minutes, that’s why we use anesthesia! Second the most important part of the teeth cleaning is to clean below the gum line. Numerous scientific studies have shown that cleaning only the visible surface of the teeth does not cure or prevent oral disease. The public may not understand that the procedures offered by unlicensed or unregulated persons are only cosmetic and do not improve tooth health. Thirdly, the California Veterinary Medicine Practice Act requires that an unlicensed person must be under the direct or indirect supervision of a veterinarian or under the direct supervision of a registered veterinary technician when performing tasks, such as a dental cleaning, and it must be in an animal hospital setting. There is no question cosmetic teeth cleaning is illegal in California unless done in a veterinary hospital under veterinary or veterinary technician supervision. Furthermore without ultrasonic scaling and polishing cosmetic teeth cleaning is not cleaning to improve tooth health even though it may look good.”

You can read more on this issue, and published facts from official veterinary resources on their website right here.