Dental Care Under General Anesthesia
We would like to avoid anesthesia for dental care on all our patients, but once signs of
significant dental disease have occurred a non-anesthetic dental treatment is not appropriate.
When dental care under general anesthesia is necessary we use very safe anesthetic agents and
monitor our patients closely during a procedure to minimize any risks. A complete physical exam
and pre-anesthetic blood testing further lessen the risk of anesthetic complications. The benefits
of oral health to your pet far out generally far outweigh the risk. A dental treatment with
general anesthesia generally includes dental radiographs (x-rays), any necessary extractions, and
a deep cleaning and polishing of the teeth. It is a much more thorough method of dental treatment
than can be accomplished by a non-anesthetic cleaning.
If a program of home care and twice yearly non-anesthetic professional cleanings are started at
an early age before onset of significant dental disease it may be possible to avoid anesthesia for
dental treatment. In other cases once a dental treatment under anesthesia has been done it may be
possible that the next treatment be done without anesthesia if it is done soon afterwards and
continued on a repeating basis every 4 to 6 months. The goal is to start early prior to
development of advanced dental disease. Once the dental disease is present dental treatment under
general anesthesia is advised.
We provide non-anesthesia dental care for cats and dogs by a licensed veterinary technician
under the supervision of a veterinarian. The service is a hand scaling and machine polishing of the
teeth with recommendations for home care afterwards.
Non-anesthetic Dental Service
Availability—The first two weeks of each month.
Our non-anesthetic dental service is performed by Carmen Canton, LVT of Healthy Pet Dental Care.
She is located in New York City and Miami. She spends the first two weeks of each month in New York
and performs the service at our hospital. The procedure takes 30 to 60 minutes. The service can be
done while you wait or you may leave your pet with us
for the day and pick him or her up later, before 8 p.m. on weekdays or 5 p.m. on weekends. Call
Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital at (718) 832-3899 to schedule an
If your pet is not already a patient to Animal Kind Veterinary Hospital we need to examine him
or her and look over any previous medical records to be sure he or she is healthy, up to date with
vaccinations, and that the non-anesthetic cleaning is appropriate for your pet. The cost of his
initial examination by a veterinarian is $65.
Is non-anesthesia dental treatment appropriate for your pet?
Two conditions must be met for a patient to be considered for a
non-anesthesia dental cleaning:
- The patient must be easily handled and relatively calm in the veterinary environment. An
overly anxious animal, or one that tries to bite is not a candidate. Generally dogs are more
amenable to non-anesthetic treatment than cats.
- The patient must have only a mild to moderate amount of plaque or calculus present without
evidence of advanced dental disease.
Candidates for non-anesthetic dental cleaning
Ideal Candidates for non-anesthetic dental cleaning
The ideal candidate for non-anesthetic cleaning is a young patient, often one to three years
old, with light buildup of dental plaque or calculus on his or her teeth. The cleanings should be
done every 6 months along with a program of home care which includes brushing and dental chews, to
try to prevent the progression of dental disease.
Other Candidates for non-anesthetic dental cleaning
An older patient that has had previous dental treatment under general anesthesia and then
started on a home care program can benefit greatly from non-anesthetic cleanings every four to six
Non-candidates for non-anesthetic dental cleaning.
Aggressive or very anxious patients and patients with evidence of significant dental disease
are not candidates. Once signs of significant dental disease have occurred a non-anesthetic dental
treatment is not appropriate. Many dogs over the age of 6 years that have not had regular home
dental care or have not had twice yearly non-anesthetic cleanings do not qualify for
non-anesthetic dental cleaning and will require an initial dental treatment under general
anesthesia before future non-anesthetic cleanings can be considered.
If you think your pet may be a candidate please schedule a consultation with one of our
veterinarians or discuss it at your regular office visits.
Signs of significant dental disease include, but are not limited to:
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Gingivitis (gum redness or bleeding)
- Periodontal disease (loose teeth or abscesses)
- Oral pain
- Moderate to severe accumulation of dental calculus
- Fractured or broken teeth
- Gum recession or overgrowth.
There is a self cleaning property to chewing. The best things for your pet to chew are things
that do not cause excessive wear and cannot be chewed up and consumed so fast that it results in
gastrointestinal problems like vomiting or diarrhea. It is not rare for us to see dogs that have
never had dental treatment, at home or by a veterinarian, to have excellent oral health even when
they have reached there geriatric years (10 years +). Invariably these dogs are ones that love to
chew everything. If you brush your pets teeth use toothpaste made for dogs or cats. Brushing is
also very beneficial to oral health, but not all pets tolerate it.
Your Pet’s Mouth Is the Gateway to Good Health
Having your pet’s teeth cleaned at Animal Kind is an important part of keeping him or her
healthy. “Dog breath” isn’t a normal condition but a sign that there are problems. Bacteria in
your pet’s mouth can get into the bloodstream and damage organs such as the kidneys, lungs, heart,
After a cleaning, following up at home is important. We are happy to take the time to make
recommendations about products that you can use such as special chews or special diets that help
to keep teeth clean and reduce a build-up of tartar, calculus, and bacteria.
Brushing Your Pet’s Teeth
There is another important component that you can do at home to keep your pet’s teeth clean and
free of bacteria. By using this step-by-step process, your pet can learn to enjoy having his or
her teeth brushed.
- Prepare your pet by rubbing his or her gums every day and reward with a treat. Your pet will
learn that this is an activity to look forward to.
- After a week or so, put some special pet toothpaste on your finger and rub the teeth and
gums. Let your pet taste it and give lots of praise.
- Once your pet has become accustomed to having your finger in his or her mouth, try using the
toothbrush with the paste.
Keep at it! Your pet will thank you.