Ultrasonic Teeth Cleaning: Doing More Harm Than Good?

These are well-meaning pet parents who may be afraid of anesthesia for their pet or who may not be able to afford professional veterinary dental care.  But because they want to provide some form of oral care for their pets, they opt for nonprofessional dental scaling (NPDS), also known as anesthesia-free dentistry. Today we’re discussing why ultrasonic teeth cleaning may do more harm than good to your pet!

Although anesthesia-free dentistry is gaining popularity with an increasing number of dog and cat owners, it is essentially a cosmetic procedure that addresses only the parts of your pet’s teeth you can see.
One of the biggest concerns many veterinarians have with just scraping teeth is that the mouth is full of blood vessels, which can launch oral bacteria into the bloodstream.  Once the bacteria are in the bloodstream, it can infect other organs like the valves of the heart.

Why Anesthesia is Important for Pet Dental Procedures

The fact is that a truly thorough oral exam and cleaning can’t be accomplished on a pet who is awake, which is another reason to avoid ultrasonic teeth cleaning.
Anesthesia has several benefits when it comes to caring for your pet’s mouth, including:
Immobilizing your dog or cat to insure their safety and cooperation during a procedure they don’t understand and may be stressed about;
Allows for x-rays and a thorough exam of all the surfaces inside the mouth;
Allows for scaling below the gum line where periodontal disease is most active;
Pain management.

A dog or cat who isn’t sedated won’t tolerate a thorough inspection of their mouth, making the use of sharp instruments especially dangerous. Cleaning below the gum line of a fully alert animal is something that should never be attempted, as it’s extremely painful. And if tooth extractions are needed, they are out of the question for un-anesthetized pets.

How Anesthesia-Free Dental Procedures Might Do More Harm than Good

Even though your pet’s teeth may look clean and fresh after an anesthesia-free dental procedure, what you can’t see is more serious problems like tartar buildup and gingivitis. Most oral disease happens below the visible surfaces of your pet’s mouth.
The majority of older dogs that have undergone ultrasonic teeth cleaning procedures for years wind up with significant dental disease requiring multiple extractions as they age.

Keep This in Mind When Putting Your Pet ‘Under’ is a Concern

The prospect of making a beloved pet unconscious with anesthesia is a distressing worry for many people. If you are among them, consider the following.
Veterinary practices that routinely perform dental radiography and probing on pets practice at an advanced level of care. They’re also likely to be well equipped to safely monitor patients and handle any problems they encounter.

Administration of pre-medications and nerve blocks enables pet to be kept at anesthetic depths consistent with that of a light general anesthesia. This keeps them close to waking, even when extractions or other invasive procedures are needed, thus maintaining blood pressure.

Don’t Forget All Important At-Home Care!

You can help maintain your pet’s dental health with:
Regular brushing, using pet-specific toothpaste;
A balanced, species-appropriate diet;
For dogs, an all-natural dental chew bone.
If you are unsure about getting your pet an ultrasonic teeth cleaning, call our office first to schedule a consultation so we can provide the very best care for your furry friend!

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