Anesthesia-Free Dentals VS Professional Veterinary Dental Cleaning

Most people agree that Dental Canine Dental care is important for the health and well being of their dog. Bad breath and stained teeth are obvious that your dog needs dental care but they can, also, indicate gum disease, abscesses or bacterial plaque. Bacteria from the plaque can spread into the gums causing inflammation resulting in gum recession, loose teeth and bone damage. Bacteria can spread into the bloodstream causing heart valve damage leading to congestive heart failure. Also, the bacteria can cause micro abscesses in the liver reducing its function and/or irreversible kidney damage.

80% of dogs show signs of periodontal disease by the age of 3 without proper dental care according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Dr. Kate Knutson (AAHA President) feels that 60% dental problems occur below the gum line that require an X-Ray to properly diagnose.

A debate among Veterinarians and dental technicians has been brewing over POPD (Professional Outpatient Preventive Dentistry) or, also, known as 'Anesthesia-Free Dentistry' verses Dental care with the use of anesthesia. POPD is offered by a wide range of professionals from Veterinarians and Vet Techs in licensed clinic to pet stores, groomers, boarding facilities and in some states out of garages without the supervision of a Veterinarian. Human trained 'hygenist' have found that they can work for a groomer or boarding facilities or setup their own shop as a 'canine hygenist'. Dr. Kate Knutson stated "a pet's mouth isn't the same as a human one, and requires veterinary expertise". President of the American College of Veterinary Dentistry, Dr. Jan Bellows, has been very outspoken against POPD: "Anesthetic-free dentals are a waste of money; the public is being bamboozled". Because POPD doesn't use anesthesia the technician can't clean below the gum line where 60% of dental problems occur. Nor can POPD polish the teeth's surface above and below the gum line that is crucial to preventing buildup of calculi (tartar) and bacterial plaque. Some feel that POPD produces a false sense of security because the teeth look clean and white yet an abscess could be causing pain below the gum line. Studies have shown that less than 0.2% of healthy dogs have a severe reaction to anesthesia. It is key that the Veterinarian check the dog to make sure it is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia and the dog hasn't eaten 12 hours prior to the procedure.

On the other end of the argument, POPD procedure is less expensive. Anesthesia isn't required.

The middle of the road opinions say that using POPD in between the Anesthesia Dentals may help keep costs down.

Everyone agrees that prevention is the best treatment through regular brushing, water additives, specialized dental treats, monthly antibiotic treatment and yearly exam.

The internet offers a lot of pros and cons so you can decide on the best path for you.