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Why must my pet undergo anesthesia for a dental cleaning? Can’t the groomer just scrape the tartar off of his teeth?

Tartar is made of bacteria and when it is removed from the surface of the teeth we worry that small pieces could be inhaled by the patient causing a lung infection. For this reason, “Non-anesthetic” cleaning is NEVER recommended. Anesthesia allows us to place an endotracheal tube in the windpipe to prevent infection of the lungs. Secondly, the most important part of the cleaning is the removal of plaque and tartar under the gumline. This is just not possible in an awake pet. And lastly, the teeth are not polished, which will leave the cleaned surface rough and actually increase the adherence of plaque to the teeth