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Get Ahead of Veterinary Dental Month with WSAVA’s New Guidelines

By Pam Foster
December, 2017

The holidays are here, and then – poof – it will be time to help practices prep for a successful February National Pet Dental Health Month. 

For February 2018, the big news for your customers is the release of WSAVA’s new Global Dental Guidelines, which were debuted at the 42nd World Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress in Copenhagen, Denmark in September 2017.

Vet Advantage image: The WSAVA Global Dental Guidelines were developed with veterinary dentists from 5 continents.

The world’s first global dental guidelines come in a 161-page document “aimed atimproving the standard of veterinary dentistry around the world,” according to the WSAVA website. They were developed by the WSAVA’s new dental guidelines committee (DGC) in collaboration with “veterinary dentists from 5 continents.”

During your visits with clinics, you’ll want to discuss the global dental guidelines and see how they may affect your customers. 

After all, busy practitioners, owners, office managers or other staff members may not have had a chance to even look at the new guidelines. So, you’ll be a big help in bringing the highlights to their attention — especially as a preparation for the 2018 dental season. 

First, check out the WSAVA global dental guidelines overview page, where you’ll find information on why the DGC developed the guidelines.

The overview includes the following passionate statements about the state of global veterinary dental care:

  • “Due to the significant amount of pain and infection, including the significant local, regional and systemic consequences, un- and undertreated oral and dental pathology significantly decreases the patient’s quality of life.”
  • “This can and should be interpreted as an animal welfare program.”
  • “There is a tremendous lack of dental education in the veterinary (industry). Less than 20% of veterinary schools in the US and even fewer worldwide have a veterinary dentist on staff.”
  • “Oral, dental, and maxillofacial disease is significantly under as well as poorly treated.
  • “This misinformation not only results in poor treatment, but has allowed procedures such as anesthesia-free dentistry to flourish.”
  • “Confusion as to the cause of periodontal disease has also created a culture in which antibiotics are used to excess in dental disease.”
  • “There is likely no area of veterinary medicine that needs education and standardization more than dentistry.”

What do these statements this mean to you, in your role as a Distribution Sales Representative?

There’s much more work to be done in advancing dentistry and oral care for animals.

And, you can make more of an impact than you think, because you see practices every day and they look to you for the latest solutions in patient care. For instance…

  • Not only can you can introduce your customers to the WSAVA guidelines, you can bring in dental education materials and programs from different product manufacturers.
  • You can set up lunch ‘n learn presentations to discuss the WSAVA guidelines, the practice’s current protocols, and tools that support the best care. 
  • And of course, where will practices purchase oral-care tools and other solutions? From you, of course, as part of an ongoing, trusted relationship where you’re helping practices thrive.

Let’s look at just a couple of the sections in the WSAVA Global Dental Guidelines to see what we mean.

Section 1: Oral Anatomy and Common Pathology is an incredible primer for you, if you’re interested in knowing more about oral-care issues. It includes images showing a variety of conditions that warrant oral care. Great stuff to help you become more conversant with the medical professionals you serve. 

Section 4: Oral examination and recording offers step-by-step guidance on conducting exams using proper instruments as well as recording findings with “The Modified Triadan System” they recommend. This is an excellent section to compare against practice protocols in your area — and see where there may be opportunities to introduce new procedures and tools to your customers if they’re not currently using the same approaches outlined in the WSAVA steps.

Section 9: Necessary equipment (our favorite section): This section is a gold mine for you! It discusses the various equipment used in dentistry, such as “adequate room lighting, magnification, and a pen light. It is advisable that the clinician wear examination gloves to assess the oral cavity, both to protect the veterinarian and patient, as well as to decrease the risk of infection transmission. While light may seem obvious, many clinicians attempt to perform an examination in a poorly lit room with the unaided eye, to less than satisfying results. A pen light (or oto/ophthalmoscope) can be used to improve visualization as well as to transilluminate the tooth to determine vitality.”

That’s just a brief example. You’ll want to go through this section and make a list of all the recommended equipment. Then, when visiting practices, ask about the age and condition of their equipment and see if anything needs to be upgraded or added.

Other sections of the WSAVA Global Dental Guidelines discuss periodontal care in the practice, the role of digital radiography, proper dental extraction procedures, the University role in dentistry, and even nutrition and other home-care factors that affect oral health.

It’s a spectacular resource for you and your customers. 

Best of all, the guidelines are accessible online or as a downloadable PDF, so you can show it to practices on a tablet or flip through the pages of a printed version — whatever is easiest for you during hospital visits.

Now’s the time to explore the WSAVA guidelines and work with clients for successful dental awareness and care campaigns in February and beyond.

Topics: Dental, Dental Health Month, DSR Facing Blog, WSAVA