Who Is a Veterinary Dentist and What Makes Them Special? A Look at Their Skills and Expertise

Who Is a Veterinary Dentist and What Makes Them Special? A Look at Their Skills and Expertise

When it comes to the health and well-being of our pets, there is more to consider than just their dietary needs and exercise routines. Oral hygiene is a vital aspect of animal welfare that many pet owners tend to overlook. The role of veterinary dentists in maintaining oral health is crucial and can have a lasting impact on your pet’s overall well-being. But what exactly makes these professionals stand out from general veterinarians? Keep reading to learn more about veterinary dentists’ unique skills and expertise.

What is a Veterinary Dentist?

A veterinary dentist has chosen to specialize in veterinary medicine, focusing on animal oral health. While a general veterinarian will have knowledge and experience in treating various animal health issues, a veterinary dentist will possess in-depth knowledge, additional training, and specialized skills catering specifically to animals’ dental and oral health issues.

The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC)

The American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) is a board-certifying organization that distinguishes veterinary dentistry and oral surgery specialists. The AVDC promotes continuing education programs for veterinary dentists and general veterinarians who want to maintain and improve their skills in animal oral health. By fostering a commitment to learning and excellence, organizations like the AVDC help ensure that the standard of care provided by veterinary dentists is top-notch.

Becoming a Board-Certified Veterinary Dentist

Board certification is a mark of prestige and a testament to the skills and expertise of a veterinary dentist. Becoming board-certified in veterinary dentistry requires completing 3 to 6 years of specialized training beyond obtaining a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree. A candidate must publish original scientific articles, submit expert credentials to a review board, and pass extensive written and practical examinations. Upon completing these requirements, a veterinary dentist is designated a “Diplomate” of the AVDC, signifying their exceptional training and prowess in the field.

Specialized Skills and Expertise of a Veterinary Dentist

Regarding veterinary dental care, these professionals possess specialized skills that help them stand out. Some of their areas of expertise include:

  • Advanced oral surgery: Veterinary dentists are trained to handle complex surgeries addressing various oral health issues in pets.
  • Identifying and treating periodontal disease: They have the expertise to diagnose and treat gum diseases that can severely impact the animal’s health.
  • Root canal therapy: Veterinary dentists can perform root canal procedures to save a pet’s damaged tooth.
  • Dental crowns for animals: They have the expertise to place crowns, ensuring a strong and functional tooth restoration.
  • Jaw fracture repair: Veterinary dentists can accurately diagnose and treat a broken jaw, restoring the animal’s ability to eat and move comfortably.
  • Oral cancer treatment: They have the knowledge and experience to treat oral cancer in pets, aiming for a complete recovery.
  • Correction of orthodontic abnormalities: Veterinary dentists can diagnose and treat misaligned teeth, ensuring the pet’s comfort and overall dental health.
  • Utilization of dental radiology for proper diagnosis: By employing advanced dental radiology, they can accurately diagnose oral health problems and plan appropriate treatments.

The Importance of Anesthesia and Pain Management in Veterinary Dentistry

Most dental procedures on animals require general anesthesia for proper evaluation and treatment. Veterinary dentists receive extensive training in safe and effective anesthesia administration, ensuring your pet’s comfort and well-being during procedures. They are also well-trained in pain management strategies to minimize pets’ discomfort while recovering.

Veterinary Hospital and Their Vet Wellness Plans

A veterinary hospital typically offers a wide range of services focusing on diverse aspects of animal wellness. One essential component is their vet wellness plans, often including preventative dental care. These plans may comprise routine dental cleanings, oral examinations, and dental radiographs, making it easier for pet owners to prioritize their pets’ dental needs and overall health.

Veterinary Dentistry and Reliable Pet Dental Care

When seeking reliable pet dental care, it is crucial to find a specialist who knows the ins and outs of veterinary dentistry. This will ensure that your pet receives the best possible care when it comes to their oral health. A veterinary dentist will possess the necessary skills and expertise to diagnose and treat various dental and oral issues, guaranteeing an improvement in your pet’s overall well-being.

The Value of Continuing Education for Board-Certified Veterinary Dentists

The field of veterinary dentistry is constantly evolving. New techniques and technology emerge regularly, making it essential for veterinary dentists to stay current with developments. The AVDC fosters a commitment to lifelong learning in veterinary dentists, ensuring they provide the best care possible through up-to-date knowledge and expertise.

How Veterinary Dentists Contribute to the Overall Health of Pets

There is a strong link between oral health and overall health in animals. Veterinary dentists are crucial in disease prevention and early detection, ensuring timely treatment and minimizing further complications. With proper dental care, pets can experience an improved quality of life and increased longevity.


Veterinary dentists possess unique skills and expertise that distinguish them from general veterinarians. Their specialized knowledge and commitment to staying at the forefront of advancements in their field make them invaluable in maintaining and improving the oral health of our beloved pets. As pet owners, it is our responsibility to prioritize our furry friends’ dental care, and seeking the services of a qualified veterinary dentist is an essential step toward ensuring their overall well-being.