Establishing a Dental Presence in Private Practice
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2008
Jerzy Gawor, DVM
Veterinary Clinic ARKA
Kraków, Poland


There are many reasons which make creating a dental presence within general practice a natural, necessary and reasonable move in development of the business. Some of these are listed below and should provide more than enough information to motivate the practitioner to provide dental services.

Studies have shown that 85% of our patients require immediate dental care. The vast majority of these patients require an oral prophylaxis. This procedure is possible to perform in general practice with a dedicated and well equipped dental room along with a skilled veterinarian and personnel.

By the age of just 2 years, 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have some level of periodontal disease. There are proven links between periodontal disease and pathologic findings in the liver, kidney and myocardium. With this obvious systemic impact of dental problems we must not neglect dentistry in our general prophylactic program provided for all dogs and cats under our care.

Considering the number of dental cases which may or should be performed daily in our practices, a dental X-ray, high speed dental unit, scaler and polisher are at the top of the list of profitable equipment in our surgery and the fastest to pay for itself!

Professional Oral Prophylaxis

Regular dental prophylaxis includes: thorough examination in the conscious and sedated animal, radiography (preferably intraoral), dental charting, supra- and subgingival deposit removal with the use of mechanical scalers and hand instruments, polishing, and gingival sulcus lavage. An important part of prophylaxis is homecare utilizing all possible methods: teeth brushing, diet, dental chews and toys.


The plan of providing dental services in private practice shall be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound.


Specify what exactly you need. Follow specific dental room requirements (safety, ergonomy, placement in your surgery system). Start with education. Bear in mind the most common procedure is oral prophylaxis.


Plan your expenses on an appropriate level, commensurate with the local market, service, equipment--plan the prices which will provide you a relatively fast recoup of expenses.


There are no limits to the possible expenses as well as the minimum amount of money necessary according to local prices and stock.


Buy what you need according to your facility, human resources, and general business plan of your practice.

Time Bound

Be realistic. Plan your timing and deadlines, then make it real. Use promotion. If possible plan further development and evaluate results.


 University dental program during veterinary school

 Self education: books, articles, journals, training, cooperation with referral vet

 Associations: EVDS, AVDS, BVDA, etc

 CE courses, dental streams during WSAVA, FECAVA, WVC, national congresses, seminars, conferences dedicated to dentistry

 CPD courses: pre-congress wetlabs, ESAVS, training centers (e.g., San Diego Veterinary Dental Training Center

 Certifications and specializations: EVDC, AVDC, AVD

 Lack of nurse education may be a major limitation in dental service development.


1.  Participate in educational events like Dental Care Month, Pet Smile Campaign

2.  Use of oral care products, and merchandising support provided by Pet Food Companies: models, posters, leaflets and brochures

3.  Information available on your website as well as waiting room and reception desk

4.  Dental care should be part of your prophylactic program together with vaccination, deworming, senior care, etc.


1.  Bellows J. Small Animal Dental Equipment, Materials and Techniques Blackwell, 2004

2.  Crossley DA, Penmam S. Manual of Small Animal Dentistry BSAVA 1995

3.  DeBowes L, Mosier D, Lofan E, et al. Association of periodontal disease and histologic lesions in multiple organs from 45 dogs J.Vet.Dent 1996; 13 (2)

4.  Harvey CE, Emily PP. Small Animal Dentistry. St. Louis: Mosby -Year Book, 1993.

5.  Holmstrom SE, Frost P, Eisner ER. Veterinary Dental Techniques for the Small Animal Practitioner, 3rd ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders, 2004.

6.  Mulligan TW, Aller MS, Williams CA. Atlas of Canine and Feline Dental Radiography, Trenton. Veterinary Learning Systems, 1998.

7.  Tutt C. Small Animal Dentistry A manual of techniques Blackwell Publishing 2006

8.  Wiggs RB, Lobprise HB. Veterinary Dentistry: Principles and Practice, Philadelphia: Lippincott-Raven, 1997.

Speaker Information
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Jerzy Gawor, DVM
Veterinary Clinic ARKA
Kraków, Poland

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