Veterinary Dentist

Take care of the teeth, gums, and mouths of animals.

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$50,000 – $145,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Veterinary Dentists do?

The average dog, cat, or horse doesn’t have wonderful dental hygiene skills. These animals are rarely (if ever) seen flossing or brushing their teeth, and they may not allow their owners to help them tackle these tasks. That probably means they’re vulnerable to a whole host of tooth problems. And when these problems crop up, a Veterinary Dentist provides care.

A Veterinary Dentist may work with small animals such as dogs and cats, or with large ones like cows and horses. Patients come to see you — a Veterinary Dentist — most of the time since you won’t be able to carry all of your equipment from place to place.

When an animal comes for a visit, you talk to its owner, asking how well the pet is eating or drinking. You also show the owner how to brush the animal’s teeth so the problem won’t recur. You won’t be offended if the person laughs at this suggestion.

You then examine the animal’s teeth. Some pets will need a shot of drugs in order to relax and resist the temptation to bite or kick. You may also take x-rays to determine the extent of the problem. Then, you give the owner an estimate of your fee.

At the beginning of the actual procedure, you attach the pet to an anesthesia machine. Next, you scrape plaque from its teeth. You may also pull teeth, or file them so they’re not too sharp and dangerous.

To keep an infection from moving into the bloodstream, you may give antibiotic injections. When you’re done, you remove the anesthesia machine, and monitor the animal until it’s awake and can head back home.

Should I be a Veterinary Dentist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Levelheaded: You hold your emotions in check, even in tough situations.

  • Also known as: Equine Dentist, Veterinary Intern, Veterinary Medicine Scientist, Veterinary Surgeon, Veterinary Surgical Specialist

    How to become a Veterinary Dentist

    Most Veterinary Dentists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaaa9&chl=|||||doctorate+%28100%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,100
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