Veterinary Dentistry – More than Just Extraction

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With a little more training, general practitioners can boost their dental skills and services offered to clients willing to spend more on their pets.

When it comes to dentistry, most general veterinary practitioners stop at cleanings and extractions because of a combination of familiarity with those procedures and a lack of training for anything else.

Yet because of that, a lot of “in-between” dentistry services they could add get lost. At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Stephanie Goldschmidt is a clinical assistant professor, who frequently talks with general practitioners about the options for those in-between teeth, and what they can do to stagnate the disease. Goldschmidt hopes that once general practitioners start doing more dentistry, they’ll focus more on saving teeth and advanced periodontal procedures. “I strongly believe that prevention – and then treatment – of periodontal disease, rather than just extraction, is the better option.”


Photo of Dr. Stephanie Goldschmidt and dog
Dr. Stephanie Goldschmidt

Goldschmidt is scheduled to give a presentation on this subject at VMX 2022, “Periodontal Disease: Treatment Beyond The Prophy!” She will highlight treatment options for periodontal disease beyond a professional cleaning, such as advanced periodontal treatments including closed and open root planning, use of perioceutics, placement of bone grafts, and guided tissue regeneration. Attendees will learn when these procedures are indicated, how to perform them, and when a referral is recommended.

“Root planing is definitely something that general practitioners can do,” she said. General practitioners could receive adequate training by practicing an hour or so with someone who has the experience and can show them how to hold the tools. “If practitioners are hoping to perform bone grafts and GTR, I would recommend spending a substantial amount of time with a veterinary dentist as these procedures are more technically challenging, and often are better suited for a referral.”

By investing in more dentistry services, instead of spending money on extractions, veterinarians are putting their funds and resources towards saving teeth and better patient care. As pet owners are more willing to invest in the care of their pets, these services are becoming more popular. “Pet owners are now more open to dentistry and learning what other options there are for their pet’s teeth rather than just extraction,” Goldschmidt said.

Photo credit: istockphoto.com/herraez