Dentistry has evolved the last two decades, more than most of the specialties in Veterinary Medicine. Most of the practitioners, however have not applied this area in their practice yet. That is why societies, associations and colleges have been trying to increase the publicity of the discipline through the vet field. There is a world Veterinary Dental congress, an American Dental Forum, and in Brazil we are going to the 4th COBOV, the Brazilian Veterinary Dental Congress.
There is a very good relationship among vets and human dental surgeons, since many of the studies and products developed for humans, can be applied to animals. Therefore the veterinarians can take good advantage of this. It is clear however, that this area of practice belongs to the veterinary medicine, and dentists cannot practice in animals, as in many countries this is prohibited. In those where it is allowed, most can only do it under supervision of a veterinarian.
Since the last years, the basic principles of veterinary dentistry continue to be the same, however new technologies came to use. Among those we can highlight the digital radiography. Although there is some back steps against it, it is a powerful weapon in radiology. The sensors are mostly the same size, that is number 2 size. In regular radiology the numbers 0, 1, 3 and 4 are extensively used though. However the digital radiology makes the process faster, cleaner and easier to store images.
There is less radiation as well. It seems logical to think that in some years most of the vet hospitals will use exclusively digital dental x-ray as regular practice. Vaccines are about to be launched, such as the one already in use for periodontal disease. There are many studies to be done yet, however, it is an area quite promising.
New restorative materials for humans were developed, and can be used in small animals, specially new adhesive systems. The veterinarian needs to be fully aware of the new products available, and choose which is suitable for his practice.
For rodents there are now many apparatus, such as mouth gags, cheek dilators, tongue retractors, and special tables for surgery. This is an area that has been developing quite a lot, for the benefit of these small pets.
Implants became now routine in many vet dental clinics, as well as metal prosthesis. MRI, that is, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, and Compute Tomography seems to be reality now in many countries and are quite helpful in diagnosing diseases. Many of them could simply not be diagnosed without these equipments.
Some surgical instruments, such as dental elevator, luxator for extractions were also developed for easier extraction of teeth in different breeds and species. Vets do not need to base in human instruments any more, the same happens with endodontic armamentarium, such as long files, long lentulos, paste fillers, spreaders, as well as long gutta perchas and paper points, made exclusively for animals.
In oral cancer there is not much news, although some vaccines for melanomas, for instance are promising. Alternative chemotherapy can also be applied as adjuvant in the treatment of cancer, to diminish neoplastic cells as well as metastasis. Radiation therapy may help in many cases, however, still most of the countries do not have these equipments so far.
New substances to avoid dental plaque have been developed. Most of them are only co-adjuvant in the treatment of periodontal disease, once the best action to prevent plaque still is daily teeth brushing. These new products come in many ways, such as for direct application to teeth, in oral washes, in powders, and gel, in commercial food. Some are "glued" to the teeth.
Some substances were also created for augmenting bone in alveolar ridges, specially for implant purposes, such as BMP and PepGen P-15.
Some studies are trying to discover the cause for Feline Stomatitis, and it seems that calicivirus may influence the course of the disease. Also in Feline Dental Resorptive Lesion, calcium or vitamin D can be involved.
It is important to emphasize the creation some year ago of the VOHC (Veterinary Oral Health Council), created to give some focus into the many substances products, that companies launch into the market.
Although many new technologies are available right now for any vet to use, we are still in a process to spread out the specialty to the world. Many vets still do not extract teeth with the proper techniques, or do not treat fractured teeth. It is a paradox to the current new technologies available that still most of the vets do not treat, for instance, a fractured tooth.