Category Archives: dental cleanings

Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Discusses Anesthesia-Free Dentistry

You know this story already: You bring your pet to Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD for a routine check-up. You’re feeding a good diet and your fur-baby is healthy and happy—everything should be smooth sailing, right? Then, while the technician is looking in your pet’s mouth, you hear these words: “It looks like Fluffy would really benefit from a professional cleaning.”

For some pet parents, this can conjure up memories of trips to the dentist, financial concerns, or even fears about anesthesia. So, it’s completely understandable that anesthesia-free dentistry (a new movement in veterinary medicine) sounds so appealing…but is it too good to be true?

There are many benefits to anesthetized oral cleanings. Below, we explore 4 key points to consider when deciding what’s best for your furry friend.

  1. Oral examinations under anesthesia are more complete and thorough. They include looking

    KAH’s Dr Cardella is able to perform a full oral examination with her patient under anesthesia.

    at the palate (roof of the mouth), the throat and tonsils, the tongue and all of the mucous membranes inside the oral cavity. Sometimes this uncovers other concerns, like something lodged in the folds of the palate or a cut. It also allows the health care team to visualize and probe each tooth—are any broken? Missing? Extra? Discolored? Loose? Attempting a full oral exam of an awake pet is impractical and is stressful for him/her.

  2. The plaque and tartar up under the gumline are far more

    KAH technician Rush is performing an oral cleaning, which includes scaling teeth below the gumline.

    unhealthy than the visible buildup on the crown of the teeth. The area where the tooth meets the gums (the gingival sulcus) is where the bacteria that cause periodontal disease live. Cleanings under anesthesia include a thorough scaling and polishing of the subgingival space. Awake pets do not usually allow subgingival cleaning—especially if a tooth is painful.

  3. Oral cleanings under general anesthesia include full digital dentalradiographs. Two-thirds of every dog or cat tooth is root,

    Here, Rush is preparing to ake a dental x-ray, which will let the doctor see the roots of the teeth.

    which means it is below the gumline. This allows the veterinarian to see the entire tooth, and can reveal issues like tooth root abscess, root resorption, retained baby teeth, and bone loss. These things can absolutely impact the long-term overall health of a pet! Because of the positioning and the complete stillness needed for good images, it’s impossible to get dental x-rays on an awake pet.

  4. Cleanings under anesthesia are stress-free to the pet, and are not

    KAH technician Sam is helping Carter recover from anesthesia–he is snug and warm in his blanket!

    uncomfortable for them. Even the best-behaved and most tolerant pet can be worried or stressed by the process of cleaning teeth. From the continual rinsing, to the scraping sensation of the instruments, to the noise of a polisher – it’s a lot of new stimulations, sounds, and sensations. Additionally, pets are often asked to hold their heads or mouths in a certain way for a period of time while the cleaning takes place.

We know that everyone wants what is safest and best for their pets, so we are happy to help provide information so each client can make an informed, educated decision. As always, please ask your veterinarian or technician at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital any questions about oral cleanings and care!

The Top 5 Reasons Kingsbrook Animal Hospital Is The Best At Cleaning Teeth

February is National Pet Dental Health month, and many veterinary clinics see an increase in the number of dental cleanings and procedures scheduled.  While virtually every veterinarian offers oral cleanings for their patients, all cleanings are not created equal. The staff at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital in Frederick, MD is excited to take a few minutes to share with all pet owners the Top 5 reasons that KAH is the best place to have an oral cleaning and evaluation!

1. We check pre-anesthetic bloodwork on all patients before any anesthetic procedure. This alerts the veterinarian to any issues with the patient’s liver, kidneys, hydration status, and oxygen-carrying ability of the blood. All of these factors are important to consider, especially because…

2. Our licensed technicians and veterinarians work together to custom-tailor the anesthesia for each patient. Rather than practice “cookie-cutter” medicine where each patient is treated the same, our staff considers every pet an individual. Certain drugs are included or avoided based on what is best for each particular

KAH technician Nora performs an oral cleaning, using the same instruments a human dentist uses.

patient.

3. All anesthesia patients are monitored 100% of the time by a licensed veterinary technician, who uses state-of-the-art anesthetic monitoring equipment as backup. From the minute a pet is sedated until recovery is complete, he or she is in the company of an experienced and educated professional whose first priority is patient safety.

Nora reviews the dental radiographs taken on her patient. This is vital information that helps the technicians and doctors make decisions about a pet’s oral health.

4. We include full-mouth digital dental x-rays with every cleaning. This important step allows the veterinarian to see above/below the pet’s gumlines at each tooth’s root.  Issues such as tooth root abscesses, retained root tips, and resorptive lesions would not be identified without these x-rays, meaning that in spite of

KAH patient Daisy’s mom proudly displays her OraVet home care kit. This is one of the many options we offer to help with home dental care!

everyone’s best intentions the patient may continue to have problems after a cleaning done without x-rays.

5. After the cleaning, our technicians and veterinarians will work with pet owners to find an oral home care regimen that will work for that patient. This will help extend the time between cleanings and set pets up for better periodontal health for the rest of their lives.

Routine dentistry is the WAY TO GO!



Staying on top of your pets oral health has many benefits to your pet as well as your pocket book. There are a variety of things you can do at home to maximize your pets oral health. You always have to consider that both dogs and cats have genetic influences and breed predispositions that effect the degree of dental disease they deal with. Some animals can be much more challenging to keep healthy than others. The number one thing any pet owner can do for any variety of dog or cat is brush their teeth daily or at minimum 3 times a week. This has all the same benefits it does for us as humans. Other things done at home are to provide dental diets, appropriate chew treats that promote plaque and tartar reduction, and oral rinses that minimize the bacterial load in the mouth that precursors plaque formation.

If needed, getting your pets teeth professionally cleaned by your veterinarian before there is significant dental disease and even teeth that require removal is ideal. It is much cheaper to perform a ROUTINE DENTISTRY than it is to address a mouth with progressive dental disease that includes severe tartar, gum recession, root exposure and even infected or fractured teeth that need to be extracted. It is also important to consider the systemic effects progressive dental disease has on your pets heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Ultimately we all have a common goal of maintaining our pets comfort and quality of life and diseased teeth are not comfortable.

The veterinary technicians at Kingsbrook Animal Hospital will always be glad to help you grade the progression of dental disease in your pet and help you come up with a plan for maximizing their health. Feel free to call Ranee, Sara, Stacey, Melissa, Jen or Nora any time at 301-631-6900. We can even set up a no cost tech appointment to look at your pets teeth and make suggestions.