Dental Care for Pets: Why It Matters and How to Implement It

Just like humans, dental care is important for a pet’s health. Far more than just causing toothaches, poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, bacterial proliferation that increases the risk of disease and illness, and irritability, as well as the animal’s long-term ability to maintain a healthy diet.

As a veterinary practice, offering dental care services provides essential care for your pet patients and helps to bring in new clients and to build trusted, long-lasting relationships.

Adding Dental Services to Your Practice

You likely already have most of the veterinary equipment needed to offer basic dental maintenance and preventative services. Dental care starts with a simple examination to assess the animal’s overall oral health, looking for plaque build-up, broken or rotting teeth, and signs of infections. X-rays may be warranted to not only get a clear picture of the visible portion of the teeth but also the teeth’s structures and roots below the gum line.

Non-Invasive Preventative Dental Care

For animals with extraordinarily good oral hygiene (often due to motivated and engaged owners), simple brushing and educating the owner on maintenance may be sufficient for most visits. However, many dogs and cats, will require scaling, polishing, or a deeper cleaning which can be scary for animals who don’t understand what’s happening or why.

Local or general anesthesia is often required to help avoid overly stressing the animal and to reduce the risk of injury to yourself, your staff, and the animal.

When a Cleaning Isn’t Enough

Severe issues may require more invasive treatments. Veterinary surgery equipment is well-suited for dental care that requires a fully anesthetized patient. This can include extractions, corrective surgery, and other procedures that require more time and staff for the procedure, recovery, and aftercare.

Depending on board requirements in your jurisdiction, these procedures may require further training or certification.

What Pet Owners Can Do to Maintain Dental Hygiene Between Visits

One of the biggest impacts you can have on the dental health of the animals you treat is getting owners actively involved in the process. Too many dog and cat owners believe that treats marketed as promoting dental hygiene are sufficient to maintain good dental health on their own. Educating and encouraging pet owners on how to manage their pet’s dental health helps the animal’s overall health, promotes a stronger bond between owners and pets, and gives your practice the opportunity for additional revenue from pet care product sales.

  • Choose the Right Diet – Dry food is better for encouraging strong, healthy teeth and supporting jaw muscle development. Wet food requires less physical work but leaves behind more residue that encourages plaque formation.
  • Brush Pet’s Teeth Regularly – Pets should have their teeth brushed two to three times a week with toothpaste formulated for their species and a brush designed for their different tooth structure. Human toothpaste should never be used for dogs or cats.
  • Know What to Look For – Teach your clients how to identify dental problems early and encourage them to check their pet’s mouths regularly.
  • Promote Regular Dental Check-ups – Remember to have your staff book a future dental checkup during every dental visit. This helps maintain both the pet’s oral health and your revenue cycle.

Proper owner-empowered preventative health measures keep animals’ mouths healthier and enhances your reputation as a healthcare provider without negatively impacting your clinic’s revenue.

Add Dental Health Services to Your Veterinary Practice

Pet dental care services are just one more way you can help improve the health and wellness of pets in your community. It’s the right choice for the animals you care for, the busy owners who may not have the time or experience to monitor oral hygiene on their own, and for your practice.

At TriStar Vet, we’re proud to offer veterinary care and kennel equipment that’s engineered for pet care professionals. Order your veterinary and surgical products from TriStar Vet today.