Professional Out Patient Preventative Dentistry, without anesthesia, has been provoking controversy within the veterinary profession recently. It may or may not be right for your dog. When dentistry is performed under anesthesia, the first thing is that dental x-rays are taken; these help reveal any important lesions within the tooth roots. These may be impossible to detect otherwise, and may yet cause significant discomfort to the patient. Then the teeth are carefully examined for periodontal pockets, cavities, cracks, root exposure and other abnormalities which are charted. The teeth are cleaned above the gum-line (the crown) and below, using an ultrasonic device. Any diseased teeth are then extracted or restored. Then the teeth are polished, rinsed with disinfectant, and fluoride may be applied.
When anesthesia free dentistry is performed it is not possible to take dental x-rays, and so there is no doubt that important dental disease can be missed. However, when the procedure is properly performed by trained dental technicians, and it may take an hour, the teeth are carefully inspected and gums probed for pockets or other evidence of periodontal disease is discovered, then an anesthetic dentistry will be required. If not, the technician is able to scrape the crown and below the gum-lines with hand-held instruments, machine polish the teeth and flush with antiseptic mouthwash, giving a mouth that is fresh clean and protected against developing periodontal disease.
The main advantage of anesthesia free dentistry is obviously the price-not only is the anesthesia avoided, but also the requirement for pre-anesthetic tests. The draw back is the potential to miss serious disease through failure to take dental x-rays. Who is it right for? It is right for young dogs with healthy teeth and gums just beginning to accumulate dental tartar. These dogs can have a treatment every year for the first 4 years for the cost of one anesthetic dentistry. Who is it not right for? It will not do for older dogs who already have obvious periodontal disease when their moths are examined.
Dr. Lugten feels that to prevent dental disease by starting them with anesthesia free dentistry at an early age and repeating it yearly is better than to wait for dental disease to occur and then try to repair it. Therefor, Dr. Lugten is teaming up with Pet Dental Services, to offer professional outpatient preventative dentistry to clients at Basic Pet Care. Ask at your next check up if this service might be right for your dog.