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Setting Up a Veterinary Dental Department

Rod Salter Australia

This is a checklist presentation from a practitioner, for practitioners who wish to establish (or expand) a veterinary dentistry department in their own general practice. There is an almost never-ending array of instruments, materials and equipment. In this lecture, I will present my choices and experiences. I would suggest the real value of this presentation is the checklist—use it to catalogue your clinic's inventory, and from this, determine what deficiencies you have. Filling these deficiencies should enable a high quality of veterinary dentistry to be performed in an efficient, profitable practice. The components of most importance to the general practitioner are:

 General equipment.

 Oral examination.

 Radiology.

 Periodontology/prophlaxis.

 Oral surgery.

The remaining disciplines are included for completeness sake. In some cases you may initially elect to refer cases in these disciplines however they are areas for future expansion of any practice. My personal choice was to become involved in these areas once I was fully kitted up for (and comfortable with) the above five areas.

RESTORATIVE, ENDODONTICS, and ORTHODONTICS

1.    General Equipment

Your dental operatory is where you perform veterinary dentistry. It may be in a dedicated area or as part of a multi purpose room. It should be comfortable and as spacious as possible. Ensure appropriate drainage with a purpose-built table and grid, or absorb water via towels, etc. The dental base is the biggest investment. We purchased a second hand unit from a dental wholesaler after determining the costs/benefits of new versus used units. Important! Ensure that after-sales service is readily available.

 Handpieces.

 High speed motor, bur changing tool, slow speed motor + contra angle +/- prophy angle, latch head, straight nose cone.

 Lubricants.

 Burs: multiple types.  Buy an introductory pack(s) and then with experience, re-order specific burs.

 Dental models.

 Instrument sharpening wheel/stone.

2. Oral Examination

 Examination mirrors.

 Magnification—3x.

 Lighting.

 Mouth gags.

 Cameras.

3. Radiography

Dental radiography can be performed with a general X-ray unit but a dental unit is superior .

 Dental x-ray unit, mobile or wall mounted. Readily available second hand from dentists or dental wholesalers.

 Dental x-ray equipment: films, handling, ID and storage, film clips for handling and envelopes / bank $ bags for storage.

 Chairside developer.

 Rapid chemistry chemicals.

 Viewing box.

4. Periodontology/Prophylaxis

 (Mechanical) scalers. Ultrasonic scalers are the most popular choice because they're the quickest. Types include Magnetostrictive or Piezoelectric or Odontoson. Sonic scalers are gentle but slower.  You only need to buy a handpiece.

 (Hand) scalers (above) and curettes (below the gums). Plethora of types.  Buy an introductory perio kit.  The micro scalers/curettes are great for cats and toy breed dogs.

 Periodontal explorers and probes.

 Fluoride products. Gels, long acting fluoride paint.

 Prophy/polishing paste.

 Polishing (prophy) angles and cups. Snap-on (or screw-on).

 Periodontal treatment/surgery products: Perioglas/Consil, Doxyrobe.

 Dental charts.

 Home care products: tooth brushes (electric and/or hand), chewable treats, dental chewable “toys,” POD pads, “Maxiguard,” TD diet, dental hand outs, and a dedicated dental care section of waiting room display.

5. Oral Surgery

 Extraction forceps.

 Calculus removal forceps.

 Elevators: multiple sizes and types including the curved Fahrenkrug's elevator.
Winged elevators are the latest.

 Couplands/luxators.

 Periosteal elevators.

 Curettes.

 Rongeurs.

 Oral surgery kits: materials should include routine suture kits/materials, small needle drivers, forceps, scissors, wire, acrylic (e.g., Protemp Garant), and suture materials.

 Local anaesthesia equipment: specific dental (aspirating) syringes and needles, and xylocaine or bupivicaine.

The remaining four sections are included for guidance. Each discipline is significant and has its own checklist of equipment, material, and supplies. I have attempted to simplify each discipline using this or a similar framework.

6. Restorative

Materials and equipment needed to place restorations and crowns include amalgam, glass ionomers, composites, amalgamator, light curing unit, acid etches, bonding agents, mixing pads, explorers, scoops, condensers, excavators, carvers, mixers, and polishing equipment and rubber-based impression materials.

7. Endodontics

This can be a complex discipline. Think of it as an abscess treatment, in this case, of the tooth. Necessary equipment could include Gates Glidden burs, files, NaHOCl + EDTA, gutta percha, apical sealant (e.g., zinc oxide eugenol) and calcium hydroxide products for vital pulpotomy.

8. Orthodontics

Another large but fascinating discipline. Tooth movement requires planning and the use of hardware.  Equipment needed includes mixing bowls, alginate, impression trays, bite registration materials, dental stone, jet acrylic, brackets, elastics, and power chain.

SUMMARY

It is worthwhile. Start small and grow.


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