Building student involvement, fostering civic engagement and enhancing community service to advance public health. 

On March 13, 2019, Students for Interprofessional Practice and Education (SIPE) hosted a presentation about Veterinary Dentistry. The presentation was given by Dr. William Rosenblad, DVM, Professor of Veterinary Medicine at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Over fifty students attended the presentation that discussed the similarities and differences between animal and human dentistry/oral health. Below are some of the highlights from the presentation.

Similarities:

  • 1.    Periodontal disease is a problem: For small animals (cats and dogs) it is the single most common diagnosis. Calculus build-up is extremely prevalent in dogs and leads to periodontal inflammation and eventual periodontal disease. 
  • 2.    Caries: Dogs do get cavities, but they are much less common than in humans. Cats on the other hand rarely suffer from caries.
  • 3.    Crown Restorations: Dogs receive root canal treatment and crowns! In comparison to the natural teeth these crowns are shortened vertically, but they enable police dogs to continue working. In most cases however, extractions are more successful than Endodontic treatment and crowns. 
  • 4.    Hardness of things they chew: It is best not to give your dogs hard things to chew, as these create “slab fractures.” Common culprits include, bones, hooves, antlers and Tibetan Himalayan Chews. An alternative chewing device should be something you can dig you nail into like a Bully Stick.

Differences:

  • Tooth numbers: Dogs have 42 teeth (Maxillary 4th Premolar is the MOST IMPORTANT tooth), Cats have 30.
  • Caries: Caries in cats are incredibly uncommon. Instead, cats experience cervical resorption and gingival hyperplasia, which are very prevalent in pure breeds.
  • Pain: No matter the diagnosis, few cats and dogs let you know they have a dental lesion.
  • Direction of forces: Not vertical like in humans, horizontal! For this reason dental implants in animals are not an option for these patients.  

How Human Dentists Can Make a Difference: Encourage our human patients to brush the teeth of their dogs and cats. Petplace.com can show you how to brush your animal’s teeth and keep their mouths healthy just like our own!

By: Sarah Franklin D’20 and Vendita Correia D’20

Interested in inter-professional events like these? E-mail vendita.correia@tufts.edu to be added to the E-list.

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