Anesthesia-free pet dentistry (AFD) has become a popular topic amongst many animal owners however it is important to note that most (if not all) veterinarians strongly advise against this procedure due to its ineffectiveness and inability to detect, treat, or prevent numerous dental health issues. Without the aid of anesthetic, these AFD “technicians” cannot target areas above the gum line which is where the majority of dental health problems arise. They are simply providing a cosmetic procedure that cleans only the superficial areas of the mouth. Furthermore, only licensed veterinarians can recognize and diagnose any potential medical issues so they may be overlooked during the cleaning and left untreated until the next visit to your vet. This delay can result in a worsening condition which may seriously jeopardize your pet’s health. Thorough cleaning of the teeth can only be achieved with the aid of general anesthetic and is certainly the best way to maintain your pet’s dental hygiene and overall quality of life.
Another potential concern of this procedure is the inability of these “technicians” to keep your pet completely calm and still during the procedure. Scaling devices can cause damage to the gums if you dog were to twitch or move as they are intended to remove thick plaque and are quite sharp.
The last problem with many anesthesia-free pet dentistry facilities in the Lower Mainland is that the work is often performed by former dental technicians who only have schooling and/or experience working on human teeth. Would you ask a veterinarian to diagnose your own health problem? Probably not. Veterinarians have undergone years of schooling and licensing requirements to become experts only in the animal healthcare field. Trust your pet’s health to the experts.
One of our clients recently told us about her experience at an AFD facility in Vancouver:
“I brought my dog into an anesthesia-free pet dental place so he could get a good cleaning of his teeth. I decided to go with anesthesia-free because some of my friends had taken their dogs to these places and I figured it would be easier on my dog. They charged me $350 to just clean the tips of his teeth and didn’t get anywhere near his gums. There was left-over plaque everywhere and his breath was still really bad. What’s worse is they didn’t even see that my dog had a broken tooth which had caused an abscess under his gums. He got really sick only a few days later so I had to take him to see the vet. The vet then did a full dentistry which cost me another $500 but they also gave antibiotics to clear up his gum infection and had to pull his tooth. I was really lucky that it didn’t end up worse than it did! And I feel bad that my dog had a bad toothache for the 4 days between him getting the anesthesia-free dental and seeing the vet. If I had the dental done with the vet in the first place, it would have been noticed and treated that much quicker. If I left it for a few more days, there could have been really serious damage to his gums. I learned my lesson to only trust experts to do dental cleanings on my dog and will never be hooked into paying for this useless service again!”
– Actual story from an anonymous client