Vet360 Vet360 Vol 05 Issue 03 - Page 23

Article reprinted with permission of DVM360 –March 30, 2018. DVM360 MAGAZINE is a copyrighted publication of Advanstar Communications inc. All rights reserved DENTISTRY The ABCs of Veterinary Dentistry ‘N’ is for No By nature of the alphabet, we must get through all of the noes in veterinary dentistry before we can reach the yeses—but that doesn’t mean you won’t feel positively inspired to better your dental practices after reading. By Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP, FAVD DVM360 MAGAZINE As veterinarians, we respond to clinical signs in our patients and do something about them. But knowing what not to do is just as important. Here are 14 things to say no to in veterinary dentistry: 1. Say no to treatment estimates related to oral malodour (halitosis) before you’ve examined the entire mouth—including every tooth 3. Say no to dental procedures without an examination In some veterinary clinics, the pet owner calls the office to arrange a drop-off for a teeth cleaning because the pet has oral malodour. But if your dental assistant only removes the pet’s plaque and tartar from the crowns without a tooth- by-tooth examination, you’ve accomplished little besides the cosmetic removal of crown debris. Oral malodour Quoting a fee (or even a fee range) for “bad breath” before you know the cause may lead to a disgruntled client and an untreated patient once you discover that a dozen teeth suffer from advanced periodontal disease and need to be extracted. Instead, let your client know you’ll call while the pet is anesthetised to discuss what care the pet needs after dental scaling, probing and full-mouth intraoral radiographs. 2. Say no to dental procedures without general anaesthesia Anaesthesia allows the practitioner and assistants to carry out dental procedures safely and effectively, minimizing the risk of injury to the team, equipment and patient. The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) launched a website to deter pet owners and veterinarians from considering anaesthesia-free dental cleanings in any context. It advises pet owners that "Anaesthesia-free dental cleanings provide no benefit to your pet and do not prevent periodontal disease at any level. In fact, it gives you a false sense of security as a pet owner that because the teeth look whiter that they are healthier." A similar position statement was ratified by the American Veterinary Medical Association: “When procedures such as periodontal probing, intraoral radiography, dental scaling, and dental extraction are justified by the oral examination, they should be performed under anaesthesia.” Figure 1A. 12-mm probing depth along the mesial aspects of the left maxillary fourth premolar; extraction indicated. (All images courtesy of Dr. Jan Bellows.) Issue 04 | AUGUST 2017 | 23