I am terrified of clinics who do dentals without intubation - just last week we saw a 5 year old dog in the ICU with aspiration pnemonia. The tech did the dental WITHOUT intubating and packing the throat. The bacteria from the teeth were flushed into the lungs with ample amounts of water used during the dental. The dog ended up on the ventilator for 3 days and died just shy of day 4. The regular vet footed the bill ($6000) because of their mistake - but the owners suffered the biggest loss.
Dentals are NOT something to take lightly, its often these routine procedures on young healthy dogs that have catastrophic outcomes, not the geriatrics!
And Sophie, you're not a bad owner. I remember when teeth cleaning wasn't done and my dogs lived just as long as those who now have regular dental visits.
Yes, I agree. I'm old enough that, for most of my dog owning life, tooth cleaning and brushing just wasn't something vets (or owners) did much. Dogs seemed to do OK, albeit with smelly breath.
My current dogs are not big on tooth brushing, and neither am I. I do not feed a raw diet generally, they eat a quality dry food and table scraps. But, I do give each dog a "treat" once a week that keeps their teeth clean...an oxtail, a beef neck..raw but frozen. Something that they can eat all up (including the cartilege and soft bone) and that they have to do a shearing thing with their molars to chew meat off of and that they can put their teeth through. These do a REALLY good job of avoiding doggie dental work, their teeth are sparkling, with no brushing and no cleaning at the vet's. I buy the things frozen and keep them frozen until I give them to them, to reduce the chances of bacteria (and a huge mess in my house) from the raw animal parts.