Is anesthesia really necessary for my pet’s dental cleaning?Your pet must be anesthetized to allow thorough evaluation of his mouth, clean his teeth above and below the gumline, and treat painful dental conditions. According to the 2019 AAHA Dental Care Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, anesthesia-free dentistry is neither safer nor a sufficiently comparable service to supra- and subgingival cleaning in an anesthetized patient, and is therefore unacceptable. Although owners’ fear of anesthesia is the most common reason pets don’t receive medically necessary dental care, most animals do well under anesthesia and have few complications.
Why is anesthesia needed for dental procedures in pets?Only a limited oral exam and tartar removal above the gumline is possible without anesthesia. Dental anesthesia is critical for a complete, thorough cleaning for the following reasons:
Prior to anesthesia, a thorough physical exam and blood tests will be performed to screen for diseases that could cause anesthetic complications. In particular, the liver and kidneys are assessed, since they break down and eliminate anesthetic medications. Patient evaluation allows the veterinarian to customize the safest anesthetic and pain management plan unique to your pet and his needs.
An intravenous catheter will be placed for fluid administration throughout the procedure, and for emergency medications should complications arise.
Sedation will be administered before anesthesia is induced to relax your pet and relieve any anxiety. About 20 minutes later, your pet will be anesthetized. He will become unconscious and completely unaware of what is happening, will feel no pain, and will have no memory of the procedure.
An endotracheal (breathing) tube will be placed in your pet for airway protection and oxygen administration, which he will receive throughout the procedure to ensure his blood stays oxygenated.
Anesthetic medications slow down the heart and lungs, and each pet is closely monitored to ensure adequate cardiovascular and respiratory function are maintained. From the moment your pet is placed under anesthesia, your AAHA-accredited veterinary team will monitor your pet’s vital signs, including:
With proper precautions, dental anesthesia is safe as well as necessary. All pets should receive the important dental care they need to live the healthy, pain-free life they deserve.
“Should My Pet Be Anesthetized for Dental Care?” AAHA.Org, www.aaha.org/your-pet/pet-owner-education/ask-aaha/Anesthesia-and-Dental-Cleaning. Accessed 11 Jan. 2020.
DeBary Animal Clinic
Address: 30 S. Highway 17-92
DeBary, Florida 32713
Phone: (386) 668-8371
Fax: (386) 668-0774
Hours of operation
Monday: 8AM - 6PM
Tuesday: 8AM -6PM
Wednesday: 8AM - 6PM
Thursday: 8AM - 6PM
Friday: 8AM - 6PM
Saturday: 8AM - 12PM