Most common questions

Most common questions about Anesthesia-free (non-anesthetic) teeth cleaning services for dogs & cats Smile4pet.

Table of content:

  1. Why is Teeth Care important?
  2. Where are you located?
  3. How do I know that my pet needs their teeth cleaned?
  4. How often should teeth cleaning be done?
  5. What is the procedure look like?
  6. Are all dogs and cats good candidates for anesthesia-free teeth cleaning?
  7. Is teeth cleaning without anesthesia painful?
  8. How long does the process take?
  9. Who is eligible for Smile4Pet Anesthesia-free Teeth Cleaning?

Dental disease is more than just a cosmetic issue — when your canine companion or feline friend has red gums, yellow teeth, and stinky breath, it could be a sign of severe oral disease that could, if left untreated, lead to devastating effects on your pet’s quality of life. Neglecting your pet’s teeth and gums can cause chronic pain issues that may even be at the center of some behavioral problems. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports that 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats have some oral disease by 3. There are nine reasons why the care of your animal’s teeth is so crucial:

  • A pet with healthy teeth equals a pet with better breath!
  • Dental disease can lead to problems with your pet’s organs. Bacteria under the gum can travel to the heart, kidneys, and liver.
  • Retained baby teeth can cause problems in pets too!

Did you know that dogs have 42 teeth and cats have 30 teeth? Before their adult teeth grow in, though, their baby teeth have to fall out. Sometimes, not all of the baby teeth want to come out, leading to problems like gum irritation and tartar buildup.

  • Caring for your pet’s teeth can prevent other health problems, saving you tons of money over the long term!
  • You need regular dental care, and you brush your teeth every day – why wouldn’t your pets?

Regular at-home dental care can help improve the health of your pet’s mouth and lengthen the intervals between professional Smile4Pet cleanings.

  • Did you know that 4 out of 5 dogs have had some periodontal disease over three years?

The buildup of Plaque can cause it, so it’s essential to have regular dental checkups and cleanings with anesthesia or without.

Periodontal disease is a progressive disease of the supporting tissues surrounding teeth and the primary cause of early tooth loss. Periodontal disease starts when bacteria combine with food particles to form plaque on the teeth.

Within days, minerals in the saliva bond with the Plaque to form Tartar, a hard substance that adheres to the teeth. The bacteria work their way under the gums and cause gingivitis — inflammation of the gums. Once under the gums, bacteria destroy the supporting tissue around the tooth, leading to tooth loss. This condition is known as periodontitis. Learn more about STAGES OF PERIODONTAL DISEASES

  • Pets that don’t get dental care can painfully lose their teeth – this can be painful and cause serious health problems.
  • Your dog and cat are very good at hiding pain – you might never know that your pet has a severe dental problem until it’s very advanced.

This is another reason it’s crucial to take your pet in for regular dental checkups.

  • Teeth wear out!

Your pets are tough on their teeth. Learn the symptoms to keep your pet from experiencing the pain of severely worn teeth.

Where are you located?

For right now Smile4pet locations are closed to the staff shortage. We are planning to remain at our Vet locations by the end of 2022. The only option that is available no is house calls.

Our service area for “house-calls:

  • Connecticut state
  • Massachusetts state (Hampden & Worcester (Webster, Southbridge) counties)
  • New York State (NYC, Westchester & Nassau countries)


How do I know that my pet needs their teeth cleaned?

Here are the most common symptoms:

Bad Breath

 The activity of pathogenic microflora causes putrefactive decay of tissues and provokes inflammatory reactions, which causes an unpleasant smell. Teeth cleaning helps neutralize oral microflora and get rid of the unpleasant aroma.

Inflamed Gums (Gingivitis) 

It shows itself in the form of swollen, reddened, and achy gums. All of this is a consequence of the activity of pathogenic microorganisms that multiply intensively in the oral cavity. The formation of plaque results from the movement of bacteria processing food leftover in the oral cavity. Bacteria use the remnants of food, simultaneously forming Plaque. The food falls between the gum line and the tooth’s root; an inflammatory reaction will occur. This can cause a severe toothache, and in some cases, “harmless” gingivitis can degrade the bone tissue of dental alveoli and even cause inflammation of the jaw bone.

Dark spots, Tartar, and Plaque on the Surface of the Enamel

Plaque accumulates on the teeth, mineralizing and hardening and becoming Tartar. Tartar is very damaging to a dog’s oral and overall health of your pet.

Flux (Swelling of the Muzzle)

Flux is one of the most visible and typical signs of problems with teeth and gums. If the infection is severe, the gum and surrounding tissues visibly inflame. Sometimes it is a slight swelling, and sometimes the dog’s muzzle looks exceptionally swollen. With such severe symptoms, teeth cleaning and removing a plague would not be enough to treat the issue at hand.

Loss of Appetite

A swollen or infected gum line may cause a lack of appetite.


Pathogenic microflora can get into the sinus cavity when there are constant sources of infection in the mouth in Tartar, Plaque, inflamed gums, etc. IT might cause rhinitis and frequent sneezing.

Professional teeth cleaning is highly suggested if you recognize one of these symptoms.

How often should this be done?

We recommend this service two times a year. In some cases, if the dog’s (or cats) teeth are not given enough attention, the procedure can be performed at intervals of 6, 9, or 12 months

What is the procedure look like?

The procedure consists of several step steps:

  1. Physical examination (PE) – the review aims to see if your pet is a good candidate for dental cleaning without anesthesia. They are two main reasons why a dog or a cat is not a good candidate for Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning; Read more about this below.
  2. Once the procedure is approved, we can proceed. Every cleaning is statting with communication with a pet. The technician tries to determine the pet’s character type and the nature of the pet; Is the pet is fearful or aggressive. 
  3. Our staff will also determine if the pet is tolerant to ultrasound equipment (cavitation). The ultrasonic scaler is our primary tool; The combination of professional dental equipment and skills makes teeth cleaning safe and efficient. 
  4. The dental tech sits on the floor; a pet is between its legs. The technician is in the posture taken from the yoga practice (Sukhasana).
  5.  The tech put its leg over the pet’s body. There is no pressure on the body. The dog’s head is on the inside of the thigh. Once the character and behavior patterns of the animal are understood, the technician proceeds directly to anesthesia-free teeth cleaning. 
  6. The most significant parts of the tartar and plaque are removed during the initial cleaning phase. Usually, cleaning starts from the back teeth: molars, premolars, and the dental tech moves slowly to the front incisors. 
  7. After the central part of the cleaning is done, we polish the pet’s teeth. This manipulation smoothed all the irregularities and nicks on the enamel, making the surface perfectly smooth. Smoother the enamel surface of the teeth, the less probability that the tartar would build up in the nearest future. It is a simple but effective tool for strengthening enamel and preventing dental disease.
  8. The final part of teeth cleaning without anesthesia is the presentation of the work. We take photos before and after

Keeping your pet’s teeth clean is not just our job or a veterinarian’s; it’s also the owner’s duty to take good oral care. 

That is why we show a simple and effective technique that will help you brush your pet’s teeth without any discomfort to you or your lovely puppy.

We do not use towels, leashes, straitjackets, sedatives, painkillers, or anesthesia in our service. All we need to succeed in non-anesthetic teeth cleaning are a great experience, professional equipment, and great love of pets.

Are all dogs and cats good candidates for anesthesia-free teeth cleaning?

Not all pets are good candidates for Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning due to three main reasons:
The first one – is a behavior issue (the pet is highly aggressive or very stressed out)
The second and main one is the medical conditions of the gums. Suppose they are very puffy or irritated, or sometimes even bleeding. All of these are sights of persistent periodontal disease. In that case, skipping hygiene and getting the complete veterinarian treatment under anesthesia is better. Our service would help immensely, but it wouldn’t cure your pet.
The third one is the need for extractions:
For example: sometimes, your pet needs to have one or more teeth extracted. An extraction is a procedure that should only be performed under general anesthesia.

Although the list of contraindications seems impressive, our 6-year experience shows that hygiene can be done in 93% of dogs and 75% of cats.
We do not charge for our services if your animal is not a good candidate for the procedure.

Is teeth cleaning without anesthesia painful?

Not. Anesthesia-free teeth cleaning is not painful at all. Some breeds are more sensitive; some are less. Ultrasonic cleaning may not be comfortable due to the high frequency of the equipment, especially for young patients. If ultrasonic is not an option, which might be the case – we do hand scaling. It might be longer, but the result will be sparkling white like with the usage of cavatron (ultrasonic scaler). 

How long does the procedure take?

  • Dog – 40-50 minutes
  • Cat – 25-30 minutes

the time for the second and subsequent procedures is slightly shorter

Who is eligible for Smile4Pet Teeth Cleaning?

We will provide a pre-dental veterinary exam to determine whether the pet is a good candidate for teeth cleaning without anesthetics. Eligible patients include:                                             

  • Young pets need their 1st dental trophy.
  • Senior pets, for which antistatic is too risky                                                                                  
  • Pets with healthy gingiva & mild to heavy supragingival calculus. 
  • Pets with health conditions that make them at high risk for anesthesia.
  • Pets with stages 0-3 periodontal disease ( read more about four stages of periodontal diseases), including “high-risk” breeds such as
    • Brachys (bulldogs, pugs, boxers, Boston terriers, as well as cats with “pushed-in” faces)
    • Sighthounds (greyhound, whippet, Italian greyhound, Afghan hound, Borzoi, Irish wolfhound, and the Saluki)
    • Herding Breeds (Collie, Border collie, Australian shepherd, and the Shelties)
    • Toy Breeds
    • Giant Breeds (Newfoundlands or Great Pyrenees)
    • Doberman Pinscher
    • Boxers Breeds