The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) warns pet owners of the risk ofanaesthesia-free dentistry techniques being offered by non-veterinaryindividuals, as these procedures do not provide adequate dental care for petsand can be painful and harmful.

An increasing number of non-veterinary companies and lay dental practitionersare offering dental cleaning and scaling on conscious pets, referred to asanaesthesia-free dentistry. However, pets can experience significant stressand anxiety during anaesthesia-free dental procedures, which is a purelycosmetic procedure and does not identify dental disease – which if leftuntreated can be painful and cause chronic health concerns.

“Anaesthesia-free dentistry is misleading for pet owners, as superficiallycleaning the teeth will not detect dental disease present below the gum line,and thus it provides no medical benefit”, said Dr Rebecca Nilsen, President ofthe Australian Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS).

Dental disease is one of the most common problems diagnosed in pets, withAustralian vets finding four out of five dogs and cats over the age of threeyears exhibit some level of dental disease.

Veterinarians can properly examine, diagnose and treat dental disease in petswith a professional veterinary dental cleaning procedure. Veterinarians use ageneral anaesthetic for dental procedures in pets because dental disease isnot always easily visible as it occurs both above and below the gum line.

A veterinary dental procedure ensures that a complete and systematicinspection of every single tooth is performed, to check for underlyingdisease. The pet’s teeth are then professionally scaled, cleaned and polished,x-rays are taken if required, and any infected or loose teeth carefullyextracted.

The general anaesthetic ensures that the dental experience is a positive onefor your pet because it is unaware of any pain during the procedure anddoesn’t need to be physically restrained.

If an animal is conscious, as is the case with anaesthesia-free dentistry, itis impossible to complete a thorough oral examination including checking everysingle tooth including below the gum line, or the pets tongue, palate andthroat.

The AVDS is the dental special interest group of the AVA. For moreinformation highlighting the harm associated with anaesthesia-free dentistry,visit: https://www.ava.com.au/node/85991

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