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Dental Cleaning, No Anesthesia


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Our rescue group promotes dental cleaning by a vet who doesn't use anesthesia. Over the years I've done a good amount of research on this and have learned why such a cleaning is insufficient and not appropriate for dogs who can undergo an anesthetic cleaning safely. My problem now is that my oldest dog, Zola, has terribly infected gums. I have tried to get her teeth cleaned for several years now but she is never cleared for surgery because she has heart murmur and hypertension issues. Despite daily brushings, rinses, and gels (as well as me scaling her teeth the best I can at home), her mouth is a sewer-smelling, plaque-ridden mess.

 

In a case like this, would a no-anesthetic cleaning be better than what we have? Are there safety concerns? I have spoken to my vet about it and she is of the leave it be mentality, but I want more opinions.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

Vanitha

Missing Zola, my hero and my heart; and Brin, my baby dog, my wisp of love.

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I would see if you can have her referred to a specialty hospital where they perform procedures on higher risk patients. I know you are already aware that the standing dentals are really no more than a " grooming" of the crowns-leaving most owners fooled that their hounds teeth are actually clean. Posting link for others..

http://www.avdc.org/dentalscaling.html

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I asked about this type of dental cleaning here a while back and was almost run out of town on a rail in the thread and in PM's. :bgeorge Hope you are able to find a solution that helps her.

 

Are her gums too inflamed to gnaw on a turkey neck? That might help clean a little better if she is able to chew them.

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If her teeth are that bad, I'd follow tbhounds' advice.

 

 

 

Some of my dogs have had no-anaesthesia cleanings ... performed by the same tech and supervised by the same vet who do it when the dogs are anaesthetized. They do get under the gumline. However -- biiiiiiiiiiig however -- this is not a procedure that any of us would consider if the teeth had a huge amount of plaque buildup, were infected, were sensitive, etc. It's a procedure we've used when the teeth are basically in good shape but we're starting to see a little plaque. However #2 is, the dog has to be willing to put up with the procedure -- scaling AND polishing. The tech can do a proper job only if the dog will hold pretty still; some will, some won't.

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We miss Reko Batman (Trouper Zeke x Marque Louisiana), 11/15/95-6/29/06, Rocco the thistledown whippet, 04/29/93-10/14/08, Reko Zema (Mo Kick x Reko Princess), 8/16/98-4/18/10, the most beautiful girl in the whole USA, my good egg Joseph aka Won by a Nose (Oneco Cufflink x Buy Back), 09/22/2003-03/01/2013, and our gentle sweet Gidget (Digitizer, Dodgem by Design x Sobe Mulberry), 1/29/2006-11/22/2014, gone much too soon. Never forgetting CJC's Buckshot, 1/2/07-10/25/10.

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I'm with tbhounds on this one. I'm afraid too many vets are taking the "leave it be" approach not understanding how linked dental issues are to systemic disease, especially kidney disease. You know I'm in a slightly similar situation with Violet since we have concerns about her rhabdo and it's link to stress (and the fact that both the car and the vet stress her out). However, I was able to find a board certified veterinary dentist who is willing to consult with a board certified veterinary anesthesiologist so that we can make sure we are taking every precaution with the procedure.

 

I did btw look into these types of cleanings for the same reason. I was hoping perhaps I had noticed Violet's build up early enough to make that work for us, but even the people who do those cleanings won't do them if the disease is beyond a certain level (or at least I believe they won't if they're reputable) so I suspect that you'd find they wouldn't even be willing to do it for Zola anyway.

 

Last thing I will add, FWIW, teeth can be decaying or rotting under the gum line with no obvious signs of disease on the exposed portion of the teeth and unless the tooth actually moves when you touch it, there'd be no way to know that without dental x-rays, which require anesthesia. I had hoped Zuri was only losing 2 incisors on his last dental as upon exam that's what the vet thought was likely, but one of his pre-molars, which was pristine as far as we could see, was rotting under the gum and had to be removed.

 

So, bottom line, not sure if Zola can be anesthetized safely, but I would seek out the opinion of an expert (if not an anesthesiologist then find a dentist who will consult with one) and if they feel she can, I would go that route. And cancel any vacations you have planned. :P

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:) Thanks for the advice everyone. Zola is absolutely not a candidate for anesthesia (she failed her pre-dental checkup two years ago). She absolutely refuses to eat anything too hard, and she's never taken to raw food. When she was younger, she enjoyed bones a lot, and that helped her teeth immeasurably, but she won't touch them now.

 

I had no idea there were board-certified dentists, or hospitals for high risk patients, so thank you all for that! I will go investigate some more.

 

Pfft, Jen, since Zola had an arthritis flare-up and collapsed when I was on travel this year, we've decided no more vacations. It's just too stressful for me to be away from her.

Missing Zola, my hero and my heart; and Brin, my baby dog, my wisp of love.

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It's just a thought, but I had to wait about 4 months between being told my wisdom teeth had to come out and getting them out. In the intervening period, I took an antibiotic which helped with the swelling and pain. It might be something to ask your vet about.

Beth, Petey (8 September 2018- ), and Faith (22 March 2019). Godspeed Patrick (28 April 1999 - 5 August 2012), Murphy (23 June 2004 - 27 July 2013), Leo (1 May 2009 - 27 January 2020), and Henry (10 August 2010 - 7 August 2020), you were loved more than you can know.

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Put her on some antibiotics if they're that bad. It might be something you have to do periodically.

 

I would say that the risk of infection FROM the "standing dental" is probably greater than not going it at all.


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May I ask why your vet feels she's at risk for anesthesia?? Bloodwork off, cardiac...???

She has a heart murmur and hypertension.

Kristin in Moline, IL USA with Ozzie (MRL Crusin Clem), Clarice (Clarice McBones), Latte and Sage the IGs, and the kitties: Violet and Rose
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Ok, will do. I know many greys have heart murmurs as they age (well, everyone does, but greys more so?) but I am not sure about how that affects anesthesia safety. I am not sure Zola's blood pressure is as bad as they think. I gave taken her to two vets for this: my local one, who had pretty dated equipment and terrible setup re: white coat syndrome, and her old vet who has better tech and setup. With the later, her blood pressure seemed normal. We are going back to old vet (an hour away) next week.

 

I did ask (new vet) about along term antibiotics but he seemed hesitant because he's worried it might mask symptoms from other else that crops up. I will ask old vet that too. Also reached out to my adoption group and the head guy, pretty savvy, told me pretty much what you are all telling me. :) He does use a particular board-certified vet dentist, so I have that resource now too. Will update when I know more, and thank you all!

Missing Zola, my hero and my heart; and Brin, my baby dog, my wisp of love.

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