Recent Court Decision on Use of Cosmetic Teeth Cleaning
A recent decision of The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has provided further clarity related to the area of anesthesia-free dentistry performed by non-veterinarians. This decision is similar to two previous Court decisions out of British Columbia. The decision provides the College of Veterinarians with sufficient case law to understand the Court’s position on this matter. The Court has ruled that non-veterinarians may only provide cosmetic teeth cleaning (this includes brushing and descaling) with the use of hand instruments above the gum line.
The recent Court ruling found that individuals involved in the case marketed themselves out as practicing veterinary medicine. The ruling clarified that non-veterinarians may not imply that there are any health-related benefits to cosmetic teeth cleaning or that their services are a reasonable alternative to veterinary dental care.
Individuals or companies that provide cosmetic services cannot use terminology that implies there is a health benefit to their service. In the College’s view, words like anesthesia-free, dentistry, treatment, and health care are not acceptable ways to describe these cosmetic services.
It is important that the public understand that although non-veterinarians can legally perform cosmetic teeth cleaning services, there is no health benefit for their pet. There are also no specific training requirements, and the risk of missing important signs of disease exist if owners fail to access proper dental care for their animal.
The College intends to continue to enforce this court ruling through education and prosecution of individuals and companies that fail to abide by these rules to ensure that pet owners are not misled about the benefits of these services.