A person can be asked sit still and open wide but unfortunately it is not the case for pets. To ensure that we can do a professional job and minimise the pain and anxiety they experience, we need to give them a general anaesthetic. Fear of general anaesthesia is an understandable concern voiced by many owners when a dental procedure is recommended. However, the risk of chronic oral infection, is far greater than the risk of an anaesthetic complication. Appropriately administered general anaesthesia entails a very low risk for the patient. This is minimised by a combination of pre-anaesthetic assessment of the patient (including blood tests or other tests as indicated), use of modern anaesthetic agents and local anaesthetic blocks (which minimize the depth of general anaesthesia required), plus monitoring by a nurse. Many patients are awake and standing within 15-20 minutes of completion of the procedure and go home the same day. A complete dental cleaning is an intricate process that includes supra- and subgingival scaling (i.e., cleaning above and below the gum line), polishing, oral examination (including periodontal probing), charting and possible extractions. Additionally, dental radiographs are sometimes required to aid proper dental care and cannot be taken without general anaesthesia.