Get to the CORE of Veterinary Dental Care with your Clients

Get to the CORE of Veterinary Dental Care with your Clients

When it comes to veterinary dental care, we need to bring light to the ways so that we can create value for what we have to offer. If the client is to say “yes” to your recommendations, they first have to feel your passion and conviction. They have to know, at the end of the day, dental care is needed now and throughout the pet’s life. The client must appreciate the value of what you are offering them, and that their pet is higher than the financial cost to their wallet.

So how do you impart the urgency, necessity and complexity of the CORE (Comprehensive Oral and Radiographic Evaluation) dental procedure?


First, you need to examine the pet. What you see in the exam room with the client is only a percentage of the disease that is most likely present in the mouth. This visual exam is only the beginning of the clinical exam – a more thorough clinical exam is performed under general anaesthesia using an instrument called a dental probe and explorer. The trained veterinary professional can spot “red flags” during this procedure. These observations are vital in creating an initial list of possible concerns that should be communicated to the client.

Even if there are no observable clinical concerns, establishing a baseline of care is extremely important to determine if dental disease is present or absent. Dental disease can be categorised as reversible (gingivitis only) or irreversible (loss of alveolar bone and periodontal ligament attachments, tooth resorption, tooth fractures etc.) If disease is present, it must be acknowledged under anaesthesia by a complete oral and radiographic examination – this is what the CORE dental procedure is.

To bring back the mouth to a healthier state, treatment must take place. An educated plan can then be put in place regarding the frequency of the next CORE dental procedure as well as a daily home care plan.

What your clinic offers regarding the CORE dental procedure could be very different than what neighbouring clinics offer. Professional dental care should include a proper pre – anaesthetic evaluation and pre -anaesthetic lab testing, including urine, blood and fecal.

A comprehensive clinical oral evaluation with the charting of findings, which includes:

  • Full- mouth dental radiographs
  • Interpretation of these radiographs by the veterinarian
  • Professional cleaning and polishing using power and hand instrumentation
  • Irrigation of all surfaces

It’s also important to remember that a licensed veterinarian should perform extractions and other surgical procedures, and anaesthesia and time for this are additional.

When a treatment plan is provided to the client, explaining these inclusions can bring much value to what you are offering compared to others. Some clinics choose to break down costs individually while others prefer to have one set price for the whole CORE procedure, adding extraction or surgery time, additional anaesthetic and monitoring time as well as necessary medications separately. As long as the cost of the procedure is adequately covered, either method is excellent. When it comes to anaesthesia and alleviating the client’s fears regarding their pet’s safety while anaesthetised you are emphasising patient safety which is critical to bringing value to what you are offering.

Home Care

Once you have established a baseline of dental care, then it is imperative to create an understanding that dental care should be done daily at home as well as annually under anaesthesia. Options for home care can range from hands on daily brushing of the teeth to water additives, gels etc. These things can be effective at the goal of daily plaque control, which reduces the numbers of bacteria in the biofilm on tooth surfaces.

All team members should be aware of the home care products you stock, recommend and be familiar with their use. Ensuring you have time during the follow up visit with the pet and the client to demonstrate the proper use of the homecare products that they are committing to use on the pet is vital to make sure the client begins practicing this care at home daily.

The value of what you are doing must always precede price. It is challenging to tell the client what something costs and then back-fill in the value. People trust and return to veterinary clinics that they believe have their pet’s best interests in mind and they will know if you do not believe dentistry is an essential aspect of veterinary care for the pet.


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