Are Anesthesia Free Dental Cleanings Safe?

Dr. Joe Alcorn, M.S., D.V.M.

Dr. Joe Alcorn is founder of Care Animal Hospital in Temecula, California. He has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Colorado State University. He is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association and his advice has been featured in large publications like Bustle and Martha Stewart.

Home » Blog » Are Anesthesia Free Dental Cleanings Safe?

Many pet owners have heard of anesthesia-free dental cleanings, however – is it safe and effective?

The principles of good oral hygiene and dental health are the same for dogs and cats as it is for people, however there are some major differences. Our teeth are scaled by a dentist or hygienist. We open our mouth when requested, letting them do their work. We understand why the procedure is important. And, we typically do not need sedation or restraint.

This is not true for our pets. Another important difference between humans and pets is that we are able to tell the dentist when there is pain. So, to ensure that nothing is missed in dogs or cats, our patients require a thorough oral examination and dental radiographs as part of any dental procedure.

A dog or cat dental cleaning should include scaling and other steps described below:
Every dog or cat 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. This permits a comprehensive assessment of the tissues, allows dental radiographs to be taken, followed by the scaling and polishing procedure itself.

For these reasons, “Anesthesia-free dental scaling” is NOT recommended by Care Animal Hospital or the American Veterinary Dental College.

To learn more about the risks of Anesthesia free dentals, and what is involved in a proper veterinary dental cleaning at

Call us today at (951)676-4690 to schedule a dental exam for your fur-friend.