Below the surface of anesthesia-free dentistry
Service is growing, but veterinary organizations say cleanings should be done under anesthesia
Also according to the statement, “A complete oral examination, which is an important part of a professional dental scaling procedure, is not possible in an unanesthetized patient.”
The AVDC launched its website on anesthesia-free dentistry, www.avdc.org/AFD, about a year ago. The college collaborated on the site with the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry. The sections of the site are “The Facts,” “For Pet Owners,” and “For Veterinarians.”
Dr. Curt Coffman of Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists, an AVDC board member, said providers of anesthesia-free cleanings are able to clean some parts of the mouth but cannot see or reach all the parts. The teeth look cleaner, he said, “but yet, there are other parts of the mouth that haven’t even been examined, let alone cleaned, and those parts can still be diseased.”
|||Dr. Curt Coffman of Arizona Veterinary Dental Specialists found multiple areas of periodontal disease below the gumline in a 5-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel during an oral examination and dental radiography, both performed under anesthesia. In all, Dr. Coffman extracted 15 teeth. The dog had received anesthesia-free dental cleanings by a veterinarian. (Courtesy of Dr. Curt Coffman)|||
Pet Dental Services
Pet Dental Services provides cleanings only under the supervision of veterinarians. Bazavilvazo considers anesthesia-free cleanings to be complementary to cleanings performed under anesthesia. He said, “At every single practice that we work in, the anesthetic dentals go up because we find so much pathology just during our oral examination, before the dental is even started.”
|||Pet Dental Services, a national provider of anesthesia-free dental cleanings, offers an 11-step procedure for cats and dogs, with all services provided under the supervision of a veterinarian. Joshua Bazavilvazo, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, considers the service to be complementary to cleanings performed under anesthesia. (Courtesy of Pet Dental Services)|||
AAHA and AVMA
AVMA policy on anesthesia in veterinary dentistry
- When procedures such as periodontal probing, intraoral radiography, dental scaling, and dental extraction are justified by the oral examination, they should be performed under anesthesia.
- Sedatives, tranquilizers, anesthetics, or analgesics are commonly used during veterinary dental procedures to provide restraint and reduce animal pain and suffering. Visual or radiographic recognition of oral or dental pathology and accurate assessment of periodontal health by probing of pockets require sedation or anesthesia. An endotracheal tube is to be placed to protect the lungs from the water droplets generated during ultrasonic dental scaling or when a high-speed dental unit is used. Preoperative sedation, intra-operative local or regional analgesia and post-operative analgesics are used as indicated to reduce the dose of anesthetic agent required and ensure a smooth, pain-free recovery period. Federal law restricts such veterinary prescription drugs for use by, or on the order of, a licensed veterinarian to ensure their safe and effective use.