Go far to find a dental specialist

Go far to find a dental specialist

Jan 01, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Illustration by Phil Bliss
Bienville Animal Medical Center in Ocean Springs, Miss., is three hours from the nearest veterinary school, and there are no referral dental services nearby. However, like most busy veterinarians, the owner, Dr. Chris Duke, often needs help in endodontics, orthodontics, and complicated oral medicine and surgery cases.

His solution is all in the family. His brother, Dr. Andrew Duke, a fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, drives 50 miles from Mobile, Ala., every other Thursday. He holds a dental clinic, seeing cases from Bienville and other practices in the area. His average is five cases per day. He brings along a digital radiography system and laptop computer and stores the radiographs and images of these cases for his own records, referral letters, and presentations.

It's a win-win for Dr. Chris Duke. "Income for the practice is generated by procedures we'd not otherwise be doing," he says. Fees are shared 50-50, a fairly liberal split, because Dr. Duke's brother brings his own equipment. Plus, being able to offer the services adds to client and doctor satisfaction. "We're able to better serve clients' needs, and our patients receive high-quality dental work," he says.

No veterinary dentists in the family? No problem. Ask around for specialists within a wide radius who might be willing to pick up cases at your clinic and the surrounding area every couple of weeks. It never hurts to ask.

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