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Teeth cleaning breaking the law???

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  • Teeth cleaning breaking the law???

    How many of you clean teeth? By this I mean brush and scaling? Many of the vets around here are forming alliances and threatening shops that clean teeth with practising veterinarian medicine without a license. If you are performing the "procedure" and getting paid directly or indirectly with a grooming fee you are breaking may be the law.

    I see it as a add on portion of the biz just like anal glands but the vets are seeing $moocho money for thier surgery cleanings. Thoughts?

    Stephen: When we had our business in California in the 60's, 70's and 80's scaling was definitely a vet procedure only, and while the laws were grey on teethbrushing, our vet and lawyers said that easily the vets can make the case that teethbrushing is "internal" and hairstylists for people work on the external, what the heck are groomers opening an orifice of an animal and doing teethbrushing, clearly vets will prevail if they choose to. We never did teethbrushing and of course through great working relationships got thouands of referrals from vets back in return.

  • #2
    I don't care for the teethbrushing idea for the reason Stephen mentioned as well as that very rare case where you may be brushing bacteria into the mouth and the dog swallows it and/or it causes a small open sore leaving the bacteria to get into the blood stream---you could have a dead dog before long. Our vets (where I work) have said that is very very unlikely, though not impossible so they do have me offer teethbrushing. But I don't ask the owners, I let them ask me and I do it because the vets want to offer it.

    Scaling? Scaling only removes the tartar from the teeth themselves, not from under the gumline--and what if the dog swallows that chunk of gunk?

    Scaling will do nothing but give owners a false security that their dog's teeth are 'clean' when in reality the dog may have serious periodontal disease, which is also under the gumline. Scaling is WAY out of the realm of grooming, in my opinion, and should NOT be offered by groomers. I would be ticked if vets started offering to do grooming procedures at less than half the price I charge, and the dogs don't get a PROPER blowdry and brush out, but of course the owners feel secure in the thought that it is being done correctly, especially since it is by a vet.

    Scaling will not clean under the gumline as I mentioned. When you go to the dentist, don't they clean your teeth under the gumline? And if they didn't, they're not doing a good job. I suppose they could offer a lower price and only clean the teeth themselves and give you the false security that your teeth are really 'clean' but in reality, you are doing yourself a disservice.

    Tammy in Utah
    Groomers Helper Affiliate


    • #3
      Scaling? Oh, yeah, that's a vet procedure!! What if you break a tooth? Cause an infection to travel to the heart and lodge in the mitral valve? Do you really want to be responsible for that? I don't....


      • #4
        I would not do teeth cleaning,

        scaling or whatever you want to call it.
        Too risky.

        Pets need their teeth cleaned & polished under a vet's supervision, under anesthesia, so if possible harmful bacteria is removed, the pet can be sent home with antibiotics.

        As a former vet tech, No way would I cross that line.



        • #5
          I thought that pet's had to be anesthetized to get teeth cleaning done? You are talking about using a tool to scrape tarter build up off the teeth right? It seems like it could be harmful on a moving target. I wouldn't feel comfortable doing it even if I had someone helping me.


          • #6
            I DO NOT do clients dogs but I have done my own dogs. The growing thing in our area is "Gentle Dentals" where the dog does not get anesthesia. It takes all day long and they scale the dogs teeth throught the day. They are not VETS:-(

            There are many things to consider:
            Teethbrushing- once every 6 weeks won't make a difference in your dogs mouth. Just like humans the teeth need to be brushed daily.

            Scaling- Can cause bleeding, and depending on the dogs medical history can lead to death (heart problem patients have to be careful swallowing blood, how many of you have Heart Murmurs and have to pre-medicate with an antibiotic before going to your dentist?).


            • #7
              I agree with everyone on here about it being a vet procedure. I do however scale my own dogs and my families dogs. My vet knows I do it and said it is ok. I would never do a clients dog. I do brush their teeth if requested but very few even request that. I know of one groomer that would internally sqeeze anals, and I feel that is a vet procedure. My question is how could a salon get in trouble scaling teeth when there are no grooming salon regulations? There is nothing written in black and white what we can and cannot do. I knew of a nail salon that got in trouble for waxing clients eye brows but they are under the regulations of hair dressers so that I could see.


              • #8
                I won't do brushing or scaling. I won't even do bird beaks or rabbit teeth, even though I know how. If the dog is getting his teeth brushed at home, he doesn't need me to do it. If he's not getting them brushed at home, I'm not doing him any favors by doing it once every 4-6 weeks...or longer.

                Dogs who are not getting their teeth cleaned regularly can develop pus pockets under the gum line. You do not have to cause bleeding to cause sepsis. All you have to do is put enough pressure on the pocket to force pus into the surrounding tissue, where it can enter the blood stream. Then it can easily travel to the heart, the kidneys, even the brain. In rare cases you can cause a bacterial shower that will cause death very quickly. Ever hear of toxic shock?

                And scaling? Well, you're putting a sharp instrument to the dog's teeth. That sharp instrument makes tiny grooves in the surface of the enamal. Those grooves will collect plaque, which can cause decay, and makes the tartar build up faster. When you get your teeth cleaned at the dentist, after your teeth are scaled, they're polished to smooth out the grooves left by the scaling. If you aren't polishing the dog's teeth, you shouldn't be scaling.

                Also, if the groomer is brushing and scaling, that means the client is not having the dog's teeth examined by their vet on a regular basis. So if there is gum disease, broken teeth, dead teeth, or abcesses, they aren't being diagnosed and treated in a timely fashion.

                And to answer PetsRus. True, there may not be a clearly defined description of what is or is not a grooming procedure. But there are clearly defined descriptions of what is or is not a veterinary or medical procedure. Just because there's nothing written that says a groomer cannot do spays and neuters, that does not mean that we can do them with impunity, even if we know how and have the necessary equipment to do it. Dental work is no different than surgical procedures.

                Your MD does not do drilling and filling on your teeth, and your dentist wouldn't take out your appendix. I seriously doubt there are laws that state an MD can't fill cavities, or a dentist can't do abdominal surgery. So I also seriously doubt, if push comes to shove, that doing scaling is ever going to be considered as anything but a medical/dental procedure in the eyes of the law. And the law requires one to have a license to practice medicine.

                And for that reason alone, groomers would be wise to skip messing around inside a dog (or cat's) mouth.


                • #9
                  Teeth cleaning breaking the law

                  I totally agree with all the posts. I work in a vet clinic and one of the vets told me to let my fellow groomers know this is medical. She was very definite in this matter.

                  Anal glands are done on the outside, if it needs to be done from the inside, a vet does it.

                  I think we are opening ourselves up for litigation. The clients are just trying to get by on the cheap, they need a deep scaling, under the gums.



                  • #10
                    I don't enter into that realm of work. anything internally is vet referred. I don't do anal for a couple of reasons. 1, if not done correctly can cause more problems, 2. I have long fingernails! 3. vets can do it internally and be liable if they rupture one!
                    teethbrushing? Im still out on this one. I know some groomers are doing it and charging 8.00 here for it. personally..I would prefer just to spritz their mouth and let them go happily out the door!


                    • #11
                      At my old salon, we never brushed teeth. We always referred those customers to a vet. In the corporate salon that I work in now, we do teethbrushing. I have to offer it. Its one of our more expensive add on services, and that equals big $$. However, because I was taught not to brush teeth, I inform the customer that all we are doing is removing the loose particles probably from what the dog ate today. I tell them that they keep the toothbrush, and they can continue the teeth brushing daily and THAT will be good for the dog. I do like to give the majority of my dogs a little breath spray though. I was also unaware that there were groomers that did scaling. I was told that if the tartar falls into the dogs stomach and builds up that it can be bad for the dog. I might have made that up though. Correct me if im wrong.


                      • #12
                        We do offer teeth brushing at the shop that I work at, but often I will let people know that if there is a lot of buildup it won't help. Scaling however? No way! That can be very risky. I have in the past done my own dogs, but would NEVER to a customers dog!
                        Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones


                        • #13
                          I've seen a groomer do it with hemostats and popped it right off---but I thought it was a serious risk, a tooth could have come out along with it, lol.

                          Tammy in Utah
                          Groomers Helper Affiliate


                          • #14
                            I brush teeth on all my client dogs and don't charge extra for it. My clients are made aware that unless done regularly, it isn't likely to help any. I DON"T do dogs whose teeth are heavy with tartar or gums appear sore or inflamed, those are recommended to be seen by their vet. Lets face it, we are often the first line of defense for our clients pets. We often check over the body more thoroughly when grooming than many vets do for an annual exam. We are often in a position to alert the client to potential problems early on rather than them waiting until they notice it months later. My clients love that I give them a report on anything I see out of the ordinary like in need of dental, skin problems, ear problems and suggest they see their vet to determine the cause and whether or not it may be serious.
                            Now I do scale my own dogs teeth and polish afterward. My vets sell me the polish and don't mind provided I promise to polish afterward. I would NEVER consider doing someone else's pets teeth. I was shocked when I was at a grooming seminar awhile back and the speaker suggested scaling as an added service for groomers to offer! In some states that would get you brought up on criminal charges.
                            I am also one that though I know how, (from working as a vet tech for years) but I will NOT express glands internally. I will do them externally provided little pressure is needed, if they can't be done very gently, I send them to their vet to have it done.


                            • #15
                              this goes back to my former boss was saying her dogs needed dentals. she was going to send her poodle to kentucky with her brother to get a dental done for 25 dollars. i said why not just hand the dog a raw bone? my dog is fed raw...and his back teeth are CLEAN! he was fed kibble for 2 yrs then raw for 2 on kibble he had nasty back teeth. after raw his teeth are clean and remain so. the only ones that have a little bit of tarter on them are the front canines...thats it. and not even that much tarter at all really. his breath does NOT all. now i remember a lady who has a maltese...she would come in weekly for her dogs medicated bath and she feeds her dog turkey lunchmeat because (supposidly) thats all the dog would eat (she did also provide dog food)...i think it was nutro or something i dont know...but she had her dogs teeth done...and a week later...(YES a week!) they were DISGUSTING again! the dogs breath STILL stunk (though not as bad) and i looked at them the next week...and they were covered in tarter again. and smelled just as bad as before. huge waste of money in my opionin....i hate when people say should get your dogs a dental once a year...start when there puppies! about a nice raw bone? clean those teeth RIGHT up! ive NEVER brushed my dogs teeth and dont ever plan on starting either. now our other dog (rip buddy boy) had the most atrocious breath...OMG it could kill you! he was fed dry ****** food, sometimes canned food, biscuits, rawhides,etc...we switched our other dog to raw after we had him pts...but we never thought to get a dental me its pointless...people arent going to maintain the teeth afterwords so what good does it do? i know buddy wouldnt let me brush his teeth...i TRIED! he bit the heads off the toothbrushs! i tried with 4! bit em all off and spit them out. then looked at me like...okay try it again. see how far you get! i find it much easier to just give my dog a raw bone and let nature take its course and work. its much healthier and easier than taking the dog to the vet, having the dog under anesthesia (sp?) spending huge amounts of money, not maintaining the teeth, the going back a year later to get it done all over its much easier to just buy a raw soup bone, give it to the dog, let them chew on it, clean their teeth naturally, and there isnt any health related risks due to the anesthesia...
                              JMHO on that one