Untreated or ineffectively treated dental disease can rob your pet of years of quality life. That’s why it is so important that your pet receives regular, high quality dental care. We offer many preventative dental products over the counter such as pet tooth brushes, toothpaste, dental rinses and dental chew treats designed to break down tartar. These products may help prolong the time in between necessary dental cleanings.
Union Veterinary Clinic performs dental cleanings and tooth extractions Monday – Thursday. This service can be scheduled by our front desk staff. A non-refundable deposit is required to reserve a dental appointment that will go toward your pet’s dental the day it is scheduled. If you need to reschedule, please call at least two business days in advance prior to your pet’s dental and your deposit will go toward your dental at the rescheduled date. Schedule your dental surgery in advance to receive the day of the week you desire as availability is limited and usually booked approximately a month and a half into the future. Dental cleanings are anesthetized procedures and all pets must be fasted since 8pm the night before. (Water is fine, however) Older pets are required to have blood work done a week or so before this procedure to ensure that anesthesia is a safe option for them and to allow enough time to cancel or reschedule their appointment if needed.
If your pet needs a dental sooner than we were able to schedule, please ask the front desk to add you to our Dental Waiting List. If anyone cancels prior to your scheduled appointment, we will call you to see if the sooner date works for you. You can call us about our wait list at 202-544-2500.
Our dental services include teeth cleaning and polishing, tooth extractions, x-rays and oral surgery. Ask your veterinarian during your annual exam to see if a routine dental cleaning is recommended for your pet.
Please call our front desk staff if you have any questions or concerns about estimates, bloodwork, and scheduling. They will be happy to assist you.
For Those Interested in Non-Anesthetic Dentistry Please Read:
Owners of pets naturally are concerned when anesthesia is required for their pet.
However, performing a dental prophylaxis on an unanesthetized pet (NAD/NPDS) is inappropriate for the following reasons (from the American Veterinary Dental College):
1. Dental tartar is firmly adhered to the surface of the teeth. Scaling to remove
tartar is accomplished using ultrasonic and sonic power scalers, plus hand
instruments that must have a sharp working edge to be used effectively. Even
slight head movement by the patient could result in injury to the oral tissues of the
patient, and the operator may be bitten when the patient reacts.
2. Professional dental scaling includes scaling the surfaces of the teeth both
above and below the gingival margin (gum line), followed by dental polishing.
The most critical part of a dental scaling procedure is scaling the tooth surfaces
that are within the gingival pocket (the subgingival space between the gum and
the root), where periodontal disease is active. Because the patient cooperates,
dental scaling of human teeth performed by a professional trained in the
procedures can be completed successfully without anesthesia. However, access to
the subgingival area of every tooth is impossible in an unanesthetized canine or
feline patient. Removal of dental tartar on the visible surfaces of the teeth has
little effect on a pet’s health, and provides a false sense of accomplishment. The
effect is purely cosmetic.
3. Inhalation anesthesia using a cuffed endotracheal tube provides three
important advantages – the cooperation of the patient with a procedure it does not
understand, elimination of pain resulting from examination and treatment of
affected dental tissues during the procedure, and protection of the airway and
lungs from accidental aspiration.
4. A complete oral examination, which is an important part of a professional
dental scaling procedure, is not possible in an unanesthetized patient. The surfaces
of the teeth facing the tongue cannot be examined, and areas of disease and
discomfort are likely to be missed.
Safe use of an anesthetic or sedative in a dog or cat requires evaluation of the
general health and size of the patient to determine the appropriate drug and dose,
and continual monitoring of the patient. Veterinarians are trained in all of these
procedures. Prescribing or administering anesthetic or sedative drugs by a nonveterinarian can be very dangerous and is illegal. Although anesthesia will never be 100% risk-free, modern anesthetic and patient evaluation techniques used in veterinary hospitals minimize the risks, and
millions of dental scaling procedures are safely performed each year in veterinary
To minimize the need for professional dental scaling procedures and to maintain
optimal oral health, the AVDC recommends daily dental home care from an early
age. This should include brushing or use of other effective techniques to retard
accumulation of dental plaque, such as dental diets and chew materials. This,
combined with periodic examination of the patient by a veterinarian and with
dental scaling under anesthesia when indicated, will optimize life-long oral health
for dogs and cats.
In the United States and Canada, only licensed veterinarians can practice
veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine includes veterinary surgery, medicine
and dentistry. Anyone providing dental services other than a licensed veterinarian,
or a supervised and trained veterinary technician, is practicing veterinary
medicine without a license and shall be subject to criminal charges.
This position statement addresses dental scaling procedures performed on pets
without anesthesia, often by individuals untrained in veterinary dental techniques.
Although the term “Anesthesia-Free Dentistry” has been used in this context,
AVDC prefers to use the more accurate term Non-Professional Dental Scaling
(NPDS) to describe this combination.