Home care instruction for periodontal disease


Your clients are motivated to give their periodontal disease-stricken pets home care treatment. Heres what CVC speaker and dentistry expert Vickie Byard suggests you tell them.

Getting clients to comply with home care can be ruff, but it's doable. According to expert Vickie Byard, CVT, VTS (dentistry), CVJ, periodontal disease is the most prevalent medical condition affecting our dogs and cats. In fact, it's suggested that most pets older than three years are experiencing some level of periodontal disease.

Down to the roots

Peri- : Prefix meaning around or about

-odont: having to do with tooth/teeth

-ium: indicates biologic structure

According to Byard, by using this information, it's clear that periodontal disease is a disorder of structure having to do with the tissues that surround and support the teeth, including the gums, cementum, periodontal ligament and alveolar and supporting bone. And now you can show off to your clients that you're an expert on all things periodontal, including the root words.

The primary cause of periodontal disease is, of course, biofilm-or, rather, bacteria in the mouth that form a thin, slimy film on the teeth. When biofilm covers the teeth, it's called plaque. And if the plaque isn't removed, the minerals in the saliva join with the plaque and harden into a substance called tartar or calculus. The bacteria secrete toxins that set off an inflammatory response.

Prevention, according to Byard, is the gold standard-which includes brushing a pet's teeth daily. One of the most important roles a technician can play is to educate the client on how to maintain a healthy mouth. This is done by extensive, explicit home care instructions. Here's a checklist from Byard for you to look over:

-       List all dispensed medications and when the client should begin each medication

-       When the patient may eat next and what they may eat

-       When the client may resume (or begin) tooth brushing

-       When the re-check appointment is

-       When the client would like to schedule the next dentistry appointment. This is, of course, influenced by the client, the size and breed of the patient, and the budget of the client among other factors.

Vickie Byard, CVT, VTS (dentistry), CVJ, is a certified veterinary technician at Rau Animal Hospital in Glenside, Pennsylvania. 

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