Veterinary Dentistry – Position Statement

July 29, 2011


Veterinary dentistry involves every aspect of oral health care procedures including, but not limited to, the cleaning, adjustment, filing, extraction, or repair of teeth, and treatment of or surgery to related structures. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) considers veterinary dentistry to be a medical service for all animal species. As such, the CVMA holds that veterinary dental procedures must be performed by a licensed (registered) veterinarian, recognizing that supra-gingival cleaning (dental prophylaxis) may be delegated under veterinary supervision as determined by provincial regulations.


  1. Veterinary dentistry is a component of veterinary practice that requires diagnosis and treatment and demands extensive knowledge of anatomy, anaesthesiology, pharmacology, physiology, pathology, radiology, neurology, medicine, and surgery; all of which are part of a veterinarian's training (1).
  2. An understanding of the pathogenesis of dental diseases in animals is a requirement for making informed judgments regarding their treatment.
  3. Veterinarians are uniquely qualified to diagnose dental disease and address unexpected health conditions that may arise during dental examinations and procedures, and to prescribe follow-up care.
  4. Veterinary dental procedures require the appropriate use of sedatives, aesthetic agents, pain management pharmaceuticals, antimicrobials, and other pharmaceuticals to maximize the comfort and safety of the animal(s) and ensure the successful outcome of the procedure.
  5. Knowledge of the etiological basis of dental disease is necessary in order to properly communicate prognosis(es) and preventive procedures to clients.
  6. The CVMA recognizes that the veterinary statutory body created under provincial legislation in each province has the responsibility to regulate veterinary medicine in that province. It is the responsibility of this body to determine if a veterinary procedure may be delegated, to whom it may be delegated and under what level of supervision.
  7. The CVMA endorses the importance of the Veterinary – Client – Patient Relationship (VCPR) as a necessary communication and assessment process to help define expectations and ensure the success of any veterinary dental procedure.


  1. Canadian Veterinary Medical Association. CVMA Surgical Procedures Position Statement. Ottawa, Ontario. Revised November, 2009.

(Revised July 2011)