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Dental Treatment and Anaesthesia

April 13th 2017

Author: Sarah Butler

Some surveys suggest that as many as 85% of dogs have some degree of dental disease by the time they’re three years old. This is a significant health issue for our much loved pets and definitely needs attention.

There have been a number of advertisements online recently offering dental treatments for pets without the cost or risk of a general anaesthetic. It sounds good in theory, but all is not as it seems. It’s very important that any dental treatment is performed by a veterinarian while a pet is under general anaesthesia. There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, not all pets lie still to have their teeth cleaned. Some will struggle and apart from the stress associated with being held down, increase the risk of injury in their mouth. There has been one case where a cat suffered severe injuries to their tongue during an anaesthesia-free dental treatment and these injuries resulted in the loss of that pet.

Secondly, it’s not possible to fully examine the teeth when a pet is awake. The pocket between the tooth and the gum needs to be probed and measured, and there may also be the need for x-rays to examine the roots of the teeth. A mouth full of pearly white teeth may look good but it doesn’t mean that your pet’s teeth and gums are clean and healthy.

When your pet has their teeth cleaned at a veterinary clinic, they sleep through the procedure so there is no stress and no risk of injury to their mouth. Every tooth is examined both above and below the gum line and x-rays are taken if necessary. The teeth are then cleaned with an ultrasonic scaler and are polished so that rough areas are smoothed out. This helps to prevent bacteria attaching to the teeth and slows the accumulation of more plaque. When your pet awakes from their anaesthesia, they will have a clean, healthy mouth and fresh breath.

If you’re concerned about your pet’s teeth, we can examine their mouth and talk about how to treat any dental disease and prevent its recurrence with regular teeth brushing. Modern anaesthetic techniques are very safe and we’re happy to spend time with you to explain our procedures and ease your mind. With proper treatment under anaesthesia, you can be sure your pet is receiving the best and most appropriate care for their teeth and gums.