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A handout for healthy teeth


This practice fills clients in on their pets' dental health. See how doctors boosted compliance-and how you can, too.

Dr. Kate Knutson doesn't see too many unhealthy mouths these days. But 12 years ago, when she first started Pet Crossing Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Bloomington, Minn., Dr. Knutson noticed plenty of dirty, disease-ridden teeth. Concerned for her patients' well-being, she took it upon herself to overhaul the practice's identity. As she soon discovered, creating a practice-wide culture dedicated to dental care was as easy as writing a letter.

When clients come in for a dental cleaning, Dr. Knutson and her team send a letter home explaining the results of the pet's exam. The letter describes any diseases or health risks the team found and outlines a plan for care for the next year. The letter also specifies any necessary modifications to achieve a healthier mouth—like increased brushing or a dietary change.

Dr. Knutson's commitment to dentistry has paid dividends. "When we started this clinic, we did one or two dentals per month," she says. "Now, dentistry is over 40 percent of our income." And revenue isn't the only thing that has improved. "Our clients are becoming more educated," Dr. Knutson says. "Most of our patients' mouths look like ours. That's a good thing for a wellness hospital."

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