Anesthesia-Free Dental Cleaning – Is it for your Pet?


The Well Animal Institute provides the service of anesthesia – free teeth cleaning for dogs and cats.  Our trained technicians clean your pet’s teeth under supervision of a licensed veterinarian.  It is always up to the veterinarian whether your pet is a candidate for the service.  This is not intended to replace a dental under anesthesia but rather to be part of your pet’s dental plan.

We at Well Animal Institute believe that removing plaque and tartar before it can cause periodontal disease goes a long way toward better dental heath for your pet.

The following steps are taken when cleaning your pet’s teeth:

Oral and Medical Exam

Your pet’s medical history is reviewed.  Your pet will be assessed to see  whether or not they will be a good candidate for this procedure.  If they are not the right fit for this procedure the vet will explain why?

Positioning your pet for the procedure

We first give your pet Bach Flower essences to reduce stress.  We then gently lay your pet on their back or side whichever position is comfortable for them on a dog bed. Small dogs and cats are wrapped in a towel to prevent them from struggling and hurting themselves.  Your pet’s stress levels are monitored throughout the dental by a licensed veterinarian, and if we feel your pet’s stress levels are too high we will stop the dental.

Oral Rinse

Before the dental cleaning process starts the oral cavity is rinsed with 0.12% Chlorhexadine solution to decrease the number of bacteria in the mouth.

Scaling the teeth:

We use a sharp sterile scaler removing all the calculus from every tooth. That includes the buccal or labial, lingual interproximal and occlusal surfaces of each tooth.

Scaling Under the Gum line

Curettes are used to remove plaque and calculus from below the gum line or subgingivally.


After all the tartar has been removed each tooth is probed for pocket depth to identify gum disease.


All of the identifiable disease present before treatment is recorded.  This includes (but is not limited to) missing, loose, fractured, and discolored teeth, as well as feline oral restorative lesions, periodontal pocket depths, gingival recession and overgrowth (hyperplasia) and loose teeth. If necessary we will refer you to your vet.


No matter how careful we are during the scaling/curettage phase of the teeth cleaning, minor micro abrasions of the tooth surface occur.  Polishing smoothes out the defects and removes any plaque missed during previous steps.  We use a polisher, but for those dogs who will not tolerate the polisher, we had polish.


After polishing the teeth we rinse the mouth out with Chlorhexadine solution.

Client Education

When the dog or cat is returned back to the owner an overview of the dental is given by the veterinarian explaining all that was identified in the mouth during the dental. If there are issues that need further attention the veterinarian will discuss a treatment plan. That may include dispensing antibiotics, following up with your veterinarian for a digital x-ray, tooth extraction or other procedure, and when you should return for the next cleaning.


How Do You Do Cats?
The procedure in doing a dental for a cat is almost the same as a dog. However, instead of wrapping a cat in a towel, we wrap them in a cat bag. This is to insure their safety and ours. Usually this procedure will only take 30 minutes and like dogs, we discourage owners from being in the room.

If we immediately find problems which need your veterinarian’s attention, example- teeth which need to be extracted, we will refer you back to your doctor to have a dental under anesthesia and there will be no charge. If during the dental we find any problems, we will put the information on your report card so you can discuss any further action with your own veterinarian.

Do you use sterile tools?
Yes, we sterilize all our tools, and we use a different scaler on every animal.
How effective is this method?

There are circumstances where we might not be able to remove all the tartar.

  • Deep Pockets
  • Root Exposure
  • Excessive Wiggling

We do not pull teeth and we do not take X-Rays, so we can never see what is going on under the gumline.

Can our hygienist’s perform a cleaning on every dog?
No, while we can clean the vast majority of dogs and cats there are some for whom it is not appropriate. Examples would be pets with severe gingivitis, caries, fractured teeth, abscesses, stomatitis, tumors etc. Whenever our hygienists discover loose or fractured teeth, tumors, gum disease, or any other condition that needs your veterinarian’s intervention, they will write the information down for you so you can bring it to your veterinarian’s attention.
Can you use this method on older patients?
Yes, non-anesthetic dentals can be done on older pets and pets with chronic kidney, liver or heart disease who might not be a good candidate for a dental under anesthesia.
Does eating dry dog food clean your pet’s teeth?
No – This is a myth. In general a dog needs to spend time chewing to clean the teeth. Examples of this would be raw meaty bones, and bully sticks.

Every effort will be made to remove the tartar from your pet’s teeth. However, they are awake and it maybe impossible to remove all the tarter.


Please understand that a non-anesthetic dental exam and cleaning may not be as thorough as an anesthetic dental exam, cleaning and x-rays, but rather is just one part of a complete dental care plan for my pet. By using this opportunity to learn about dental care and health you may reduce the number and duration of future anesthetic dental cleanings/exams.

If your Pet needs antibiotics there will be an additional charge of $20.00