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Advanced Dentistry at Nassau Veterinary Clinic

Nassau Veterinary Clinic is a leader in the field of veterinary dentistry.  We have educated and experienced staff in dentistry.  The veterinary dental team consists of Dr. Tom Phillips and licensed veterinary technician, Tina Patton.   Dr. Phillips is a Fellow in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry and practices advanced dentistry.  Tina Patton is currently working on advanced education in dentistry, and will become accredited as a Veterinary Technician Specialist in dentistry in June 2010. 

We offer many dental services including routine professional dental cleanings, periodontics, orthodontics, endodontics, and prosthodontics.  We have recently become an AAHA accredited dental referral hospital.


Halitosis (hal-i-to’-sis)
Noun: from Latin…a condition of having fetid breath.
-Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 2001

Best friend’s “halitosis” have you limiting the number of kisses you get each day?  Read on!

Pets with periodontal disease or abscessed teeth have oral pain just as people do, although by nature they may not show pain as people do.  What’s more, current research shows that pets with dental infection have higher rates of kidney, liver, heart and lung disease.  This statistic is extremely important to the well being of your pet!  Why? Because bacteria from your pet’s mouth can travel throughout the body, lodging in these organs causing serious symptoms and disease.

Nassau Veterinary Clinic’s approach to dental care in pets is directed at preventing infection and pain.  Dental exams and recommendations are routinely done with your pet’s annual physical exam.  If you suspect your pet is having trouble eating, is painful in the mouth or on the face, drools, or has the signature “halitosis”, be sure to call it to the attention of your veterinarian.

You can be certain that your pet is getting the best care at Nassau Veterinary Clinic because of the qualified and compassionate staff.  Dr. Thomas Phillips became a fellow in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry in March 2007.  He completed a 2-year program of advanced training in dentistry. He is one of about only 75 veterinarians in the United States to complete this program.  Tina Patton, a Licensed Veterinary Technician at Nassau Veterinary Clinic, is currently pursuing a similar program in dentistry for technicians and their role in veterinary dentistry.  She plans to complete this 2-year program in the summer of 2010, and become a veterinary technician specialist in dentistry.  There are currently only 28 technicians in the United States that have completed this specialized training. 

A complete dental cleaning consists of 5 steps, similar to what people have done at their own dentist office.  First, dental tartar is removed from the surface of the teeth using ultrasonic scaling instruments.  Next, the areas under the gum line are cleaned with dental curettes to prevent pocket formation.  Third, the teeth are polished to remove microscopic residues of tartar and to smooth the enamel to slow future tartar formation.  Fourth, the area under the gumline is flushed of all debris.  Last, a sealant is applied to the teeth to further prevent future tartar buildup.  If serious disease is found, dental x-rays are taken to determine the extent of dental disease.  Nassau Veterinary Clinic uses the same dental x-rays that your dentist would use.  We now have a digital x-ray system that makes taking x-rays easier and faster- which means less time your pet is under anesthesia.  If the teeth can be saved with periodontal surgery, your veterinarian will discuss those options with you.  Unfortunately, teeth which have lost their bony attachments may need to be extracted.  Dog and cat teeth are multi-rooted, which means they have to be sectioned with a high-speed drill before extraction in order to remove each tooth separately.  The gum tissue is sutured over the extraction site to assist in healing. 

Of course, your pet won’t sit still in a dentist’s chair with an open mouth, so general anesthesia is required for dental procedures.  Your veterinarian will recommend following an anesthetic protocol which involves pre-anesthetic blood work, IV catheters, etc. to ensure your pet’s safety while under general anesthesia.  Nassau Veterinary Clinic offers a wide range of dental care.  Owners are encouraged to discuss any concerns you may have about your pet’s dental health with your veterinarian. 

Learn how to properly brush your pet's teeth! Click Here!


Dr. Phillips Bio

Tina Patton Bio

Nassau Veterinary Clinic is an AAHA accredited dental referral practice.  They received this accreditation in April 2010. 

A referral practice is one that specializes in one or more specific areas of veterinary medicine.  Nassau Veterinary Clinic has experienced staff specializing in veterinary dentistry.  The staff includes Dr. Thomas Phillips who has been a Fellow in the Academy of Veterinary since March 2007, and Tina Patton, LVT who is pursuing certification as a licensed veterinary technician specialists in dentistry (VTS-dentistry).

For more information about the American Animal Hospital Association (AHHA), please visit their website at www.aahanet.org.

What to Expect From a Dental Procedure:

Before anesthesia, your pet will be examined by a veterinarian to assess their health and possible risks of undergoing anesthesia. Also, as part of this assessment, pre-anesthetic blood work would be performed to gauge how the body organs are functioning, and their ability to process anesthesia.  Once the patient has been approved for anesthesia, they are admitted for surgery.

To read more, click here.