Your pet will be wrapped tightly in a towel or blanket so they are physically unable to move. Additionally, the person doing the "cleaning" may pin them down using their legs. This causes extreme stress and anxiety in our pets and will likely produce a fear of restraint in the future. Your pet will struggle which will cause them to use stronger restraint and possibly injury. The person performing the procedure will use extremely sharp tools to remove tartar and plaque from your pets teeth. Dental tartar is firmly adhered to the surface of the teeth. Even slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts.
To put it simply, no! Performing a thorough and accurate probing on all surfaces of the tooth, especially the caudal teeth and all lingual/palatal surfaces, on a typical awake animal is exceedingly challenging, and therefore likely to be inaccurate. Challenges include animal head movement, tongue interference, and difficulty for visualization. While this may be a procedure that creates minimal pain and stress in healthy individuals, probing diseased tissues such as resorptive lesions elicits a significant and predictable pain response. Individuals performing a dental procedure without anaesthetic cannot conduct radiological examination of the subgingival anatomy. Without effective evaluation of the supra- and subgingival areas, meaningful treatment cannot be delivered to the patient. As a result, removal of supragingival tartar and polishing of the visible surfaces of the teeth may lead to a cosmetically improved oral cavity, but persistent infectious, inflammatory, and/or painful conditions not recognized or identified remain untreated. Therefore, not only is the procedure essentially ineffective for relieving pain and infection present, it often results in a false sense of security for the owner and lead to delays in appropriate professional care.
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Dr Hale is a veterinary dental specialist with an office in Guelph, Ontario. He is veterinarian first, and had specialized in dental and oral surgery. Dr Hale has been practicing since 1984, and has been doing nothing but dental and oral surgery in pets in a referral capacity since 1991.
Click here to watch a video from Dr Hale discussing AFDC
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