Pet Teeth Cleaning Under Anesthesia Pros and Cons for both dogs and cats
-Pros: Remove plaque and tartar, provide full mouth digital dental x-ray, cleaning full mouth, view below the gum lines, every pet is examined and evaluated for their health status and physical condition before being anesthetized, less expensive in the long run, the anesthesia-free dental cleaning, the bacteria that cause periodontal disease are not removed from below the gum line. As a result, the disease can quickly spread to the tooth root or in the bone which can be very expensive to treat. Also, without anesthesia, the veterinarian can’t make a thorough exam of the mouth, throat and tongue or perform other dental procedures.
Cons: Unfortunately, anesthesia isn’t entirely risk free. The good news is that complications are extremely rare. To reduce the risk of complications to the minimum and ensure that anesthesia does not pose a health threat to the pet, the veterinarian examines every pet for their health status, blood work is performed, and their physical condition prior to being anesthetized. Nevertheless, it is of utmost importance to understand both the benefits and risks of pet teeth cleaning under anesthesia.
What is Periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease in pets occurs when plaque film and tartar (hardened plaque) build up on the teeth both above and below the gumline. This accumulation irritates the gum tissue and allows bacteria to flourish, leading to damage of the supportive structures of teeth, which are the gums and the fibrous connective tissue that connects the roots of the teeth to the result of untreated periodontal disease.
Pet dental disease can be broken down into four stages, as follows:
Stage 1: This early stage is characterized by gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums in response to the presence of tartar and bacteria. Also, some redness to the gumline next to the teeth may also be visible.
Stage 2: Also know as early periodontitis, small amount of bone loss- less than 25% visible on the radiographs, you may notice inflammation on your pet’s gums, bad breath and some visible tartar and plaque. At this point your pet will need a professional dental cleaning to thoroughly remove the plaque and tartar, and to reverse the progress of dental disease.
Stage 3: Serious dental damage begins to occur at stage 3, also known as moderate periodontitis, when 25-50% bone loss is visible oral radiographs. Gums will be swollen and irritated, and probably bleed easily. There is loss of gum attachment to the tooth, forming areas known as periodontal pockets. Your pet may also experience bad breath and significant pain, and need to have infected and/or damaged teeth removed.
Stage 4: Extreme, chronic periodontal disease is evident in the 4th and final stage, where bone loss of 50% or higher is visible on oral radiographs. Your pet is not in severe pain, it is a risk of losing multiple teeth, as wellas systemic infection and damage to internal organs, due to bacteria from the mouth entering the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body.