Anesthesia-Free Dental Procedures

VDS’ Stance on Anesthesia-Free Dentistry

Many pet owners have heard of anesthesia-free dental cleanings, please take some time to learn more about this topic and our stance on the practice.

Our own teeth are scaled by a dentist or hygienist – we sit in the chair and open our mouth when requested, letting the professional do their work. While the principles of good oral hygiene and dental health are the same for dogs and cats as for people, there are some significant differences. We understand why the procedure is important, and we typically do not need sedation or restraint. Neither is true for our pets. Another important difference between human and veterinary dental practice is that we tell the dentist when there is discomfort; to ensure that nothing is missed in dogs or cats, our patients require a thorough oral examination as part of a dental scaling procedure. Your veterinary dentist may recommend dental radiographs.

A professional dental cleaning includes scaling and other steps described below:

Every professional dental cleaning starts with a review of the patient’s general health and any previous dental history. For a thorough, safe dental cleaning in veterinary patients, anesthesia is essential, as this permits a comprehensive assessment of the tissues, and allows dental radiographs to be made when indicated, followed by the cleaning (scaling and polishing procedure) itself.

So-called “anesthesia-free dental scaling” is NOT recommended by Veterinary Dental Specialties & Oral Surgery or the AVDC.

Learn more about the risks of anesthesia-free dental and what is involved in a proper veterinary dental cleaning at