Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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amine your pet to give you a more accurate idea of the cost." Credentialed veterinary technicians are eager to become empowered, and dentistry is one area of the prac- tice where they can be fully utilized. Remember that technicians can do everything but diagnose conditions, prescribe medications and perform surgery. Empowering a technician to become the practice's dental guru allows for both professional growth and pride in their chosen job as well as an increase in dental revenue at the practice. The dental guru can be the go-to person for all things dental and can train the entire staff so that everyone understands the importance of good oral health. The technician should concen- trate on emphasizing home care, cli- ent education and follow-up visits. The technician's examination, com- munication and therapy skills are vital to a successful practice. Their responsibilities include prophylaxis procedures, dental procedure as- sistance, oral radiography, charting, postoperative instructions, equip- ment maintenance and keeping the dental operatory well stocked. In practices that board pets, kennel staff mem- bers should be trained to examine the pet's teeth when the client drops off the animal. They should show the owner the degree of oral disease present and ask whether they would like the pet's teeth cleaned during the boarding. The importance of oral care must be demonstrated to the client. If the cli- ent doesn't pack a toothbrush, offer one for use while the pet is board- ing and incorporate daily brushings into the boarding services. This simple step helps emphasize the importance of oral care. The veterinarian is the team leader. She must believe that dentist- ry will help the pet live longer, healthier lives. The veterinarian should be comfortable recom- mending dental procedures to clients. She also should schedule dental education training and support continuing education opportunities for the team. Next Steps The decision has been made to make dentistry a priority in your clinic. How do you get the word out? Advertising and client recom- mendations to friends are just two ways to acquire additional clients, but don't forget your current pet owners. Perform an oral exam on each and every animal that comes to your clinic. Don't treat just the ob- vious conditions. Check each tooth visually, take radiographs and look closely at what's happening below the gum line. About 42 percent of the pathology happens there. Marketing your dental prac- tice to current clients is important. Handouts on oral care, plaque prevention, tooth resorption, peri- odontal disease and other dental problems should be made available to clients. A brochure filled with fre- quently asked questions is a good way to address concerns that a cli- ent might have but is not sure how to ask. Many people learn visually, so include pathology photos. Continue to communicate with the client after the animal goes home. Call for a follow-up in the next day or two. A letter or text message also can serve as a remind- er of the need for a follow-up visit. Try to schedule the follow-up exam before the pet leaves the practice. Pre-booked appointments are more likely. Many clinics include the cost of the follow-up visit, excluding any needed sedation or anesthesia, in the initial service fees. Finally, use social media plat- forms such as Facebook or Twitter to promote your dental practice. Be creative and have fun with it. Start a contest and challenge the team to come up with new and ex- citing ways to promote dentistry. 2 3 4 Mary L. Berg is president of Beyond the Crown Veterinary Education and a charter member of the Academy of Veterinary Dental Technicians.

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