Military dentists give special care to military dogs

Dentists with the 1st Dental Detachment of Charlie Surgical Company -- a U.S. military unit stationed in Afghanistan -- saved military working dogs from being evacuated to Germany by conducting emergency oral procedures on the bomb-sniffing canines, according to an article on the U.S. Marine Corp website, Marines.mil.

The dogs' regular handlers have the ability to perform an array of standard dental procedures such as cleanings, fillings, and extractions, but without x-rays they lacked the ability to do root canals. Consequently, Army Capt. Bradley Fields, who handles primary care for the dogs, turned to Cmdr. Louis De La Garza, the dental officer in charge for Dental Detachment for assistance.

Despite certain obstacles, such as relying on instruments designed to treat teeth about half the size of a dog's, the collaboration proved to be a success because the fundamentals of the procedures performed are the same for human teeth or a dog's teeth, according to the article.

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