Sink your teeth into year-round dental care

Dental care is an everyday endeavor.
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Oct 01, 2007

Instead of promoting dental care only during Pet Dental Health Month in February, the team at Gibraltar Veterinary Hospital in Gibraltar, Mich., focuses on promoting oral health all year. Two years ago, the team performed 300 dentals. Knowing they could improve, they set a goal of performing 500 dentals the next year and beat that number by 50. How did they do it?

To prepare, the group held several training sessions. They discussed different grades of oral disease, talked about how to create treatment estimates, and learned how periodontitis can cause secondary organ disease.

The doctors trained the technicians, who then trained the receptionists, boarding staff, and groomers. "We now have groomers looking at teeth and discussing dental disease and cleanings with pet owners," says Dr. W. Andrew Rollo, an associate at the hospital and a Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member. He says groomer Julie White asks clients, "Why bother making your pet's coat look so nice if you let the teeth become decayed?"

To keep the momentum going, the hospital owner gives team members incentives like lottery tickets for every dental they book. But the secret to success, Dr. Rollo says, has been educating team members. "One of our technicians, Adam Dixon, is now so passionate that he'll spend a half-hour with clients and talk them into a prophy after they scoff at me when I make my recommendation."