Communication pearls: Tips for answering those burning pet dental questions


Veterinarian and president of the Foundation for Veterinary Dentistry (FVD) offered must-know advice when it comes to answering your clients' most common dentistry questions.

What is the most common question pet parents ask regarding dental procedures? According to veterinary dentistry expert Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP, FAVD, it's "how will their pet eat after a dental procedure where teeth have to be extracted?"

In a recent interview with dvm360®, Bellows addressed the top 2 dentistry questions asked by his clients, plus offered up tips on how to best respond to them.

“The answer is really straightforward,” Bellows told dvm360® staff. “The animals do not need the teeth to eat. They don't have to run around and kill a rabbit to feed. We give them predigested food already so they do wonderful without the teeth that are infected.”

He then followed by sharing the second most frequently asked question, which is "how much is it gonna cost?" The response? Bellows put it simply: veterinarians won't know until after the treatment.

"It's a difficult question for a veterinarian to answer because we don't have x-ray vision, so we don't know which of the 42 teeth in the pet's mouth need treatment. Some [teeth may] need to be extracted, some will need to be deeply cleaned...and some will be perfectly fine and can be left alone after cleaning," explained Bellows.

"What we tell clients is once they're under general anesthetic and the teeth are cleaned and evaluated, we will then get back to [them]..we can't give a specific answer on what this will cost right away," he added.

Watch the full interview below to discover more facts about recognizing dental emergencies in companion animals and how to best respond to concerned clients.

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