I have been using the non anesthetic dental cleaning treatments for approximately seven years now and they work great. They are in no way intended to take the place of deep cleaning, extractions and radiographs that are all done during anesthetic dentals. They are an excellent complement to thorough dental care. Once a deep cleaning is done with anesthesia, a follow up preventative cleaning is scheduled in 4 to 6 months to maintain the teeth in great health. Younger dogs with no major dental disease can be scheduled for non anesthetic dentals to prevent the tartar buildup and gingivitis. They are to be used as we do with people, routine dental cleanings to prevent severe dental disease. The non anesthetic dentals if started early in the life of our pets, followed up with good home care can prevent a lot of problems in the future. They are also a great alternative for the geriatric pet that has a greater risk with anesthesia. The advantage with the geriatric pet is greater if dental cleaning has already been instituted in the past when the pet was in good health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How can you effectively perform cleaning on a dog or cat while it is squirming around and under stress?
A: We sit at eye-level with the pet and use a variety of proprietary holds to maintain control while keeping our patient calm and comfortable. Pets are never forced or bullied into submission. Most vets are totally amazed at how compliant dogs and cats become during the procedure.
Q: Are you able to do a thorough cleaning both above and below the gum line?
A: Absolutely! Our hygienists are highly skilled hygienists. They know the importance of removing all of the plaque from the outside and inside surfaces of the teeth, both above and below the gum line.
Q: Don’t most pets become frightened and panic when you attempt to use a scaler or a motorized polisher?
A: We treat our patients much like a dentist treats a young child during a first-time dental visit. We use patience in our approach, and slowly introduce each phase of the procedure. As we build trust, almost every dog and cat we treat will allow us to use all of the exact same tools used in traditional veterinary dentistry.
Q: Have you found this technique to be effective with high-risk patients?
A: Yes! Non-anesthetic dental cleanings are usually a much better alternative for older pets, and for pets with chronic kidney, liver or heart disease who might not be a candidate for general anesthesia.
Q: Can a properly trained non-anesthetic dental (NAD) hygienist perform a cleaning on virtually any dog?
A: No. While the vast majority of dogs and cats will benefit greatly from non-anesthetic dental, there are some for whom it is not appropriate. Examples of pets who are poor candidates for non-anesthetic dental include pets with: severe gingivitis, caries, fractured teeth or stomatitis. Our non-anesthetic dental (NAD) hygienists are aware of the limitations of our drug-free technique. Whenever they discover a loose or fractured tooth, gum disease, tumors, epuli, abscess or any other condition that necessitates a doctor’s intervention, they are quick to bring it to the attending vet’s attention. In cases where it is discovered that NAD is not appropriate, pet owners are much more receptive to traditional dental methods because they know they have tried the drug-free approach first.
Q: What does the hygienist do if a patient is completely uncooperative, overly fearful, or demonstrates highly aggressive behavior?
A: A well-trained and experienced non-anesthetic dental (NAD) hygienist can usually tell within a few minutes whether the patient’s temperament will allow for a successful procedure. In some cases, they are able to calm fearful pets enough to allow for a full cleaning. Other times, though, they will determine that the patient’s temperament simply is not conducive to anesthesia-free treatment and they will recommend an alternative treatment approach.