Stuart reports on his recent trip to Malaga to attend the European Congress on Veterinary Dentistry (ECVD).

Malaga may sound like a nice place to go for a wee trip but other than a brief walk at lunch into the Old Town, I spent most of my time in a large hotel listening to some of the world’s top vet dentists!

Day 1: Practical Day

Following some cases of root canal therapy, we were first taught how to perform a crown lengthening technique. Then we moved onto a very common problem – lingually displaced canines. This is a condition where the lower canines are set too close together and they dig into the upper jaw – causing lots of pain and discomfort. We were taught how to re-align these teeth using very non-invasive techniques. This was my first step into orthodontics and I was blown away!

Day 2:

This started off with a brilliant interactive session on dental radiographic interpretations. The tutor ran through over 50 cases and we had to speak up and give our opinions on several cases – I got all of mine correct! Having one of the world’s top specialists discuss so many cases was an inspiring learning experience. She explained everything so well and I came away feeling I had learnt more in one morning than I would in a year! Like all the dental specialists, she reiterated that dental x-rays are a minimum requirement to be able to do dentistry.

Next it was degenterous cysts, where a tooth doesn’t erupt and can cause a cyst to form weakening the jaw. This often results in jaw fractures if not identified and treated. It is a common condition in brachycephalic breeds – the dogs with shorter faces such as Boxers. My main learning point from this series of lectures was if there is a missing tooth it must be x-rayed.

A section on the common problem of lingually displaced canines was next. We learnt how to deal with them using crown extensions – effectively sticking a special composite material on to the end of the tooth, moulding it properly and thus helping to re-direct the tooth to the correct location. 

After that it was more on the same but this time how to deal with them in puppies and then adults. There are lots of different opinions on how best to approach them and our local dental specialist – Norman Johnston from Dental Vets in North Berwick presented one of these lectures which was extremely informative.

Day 3:

Composite restorations (or fillings). Dogs don’t tend to get caries like humans do – so this was more for treating enamel defects which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort (think ultra-sensitive teeth). Enamel defects also mean there is exposed dentine – which is a possible track for bacteria to get into and kill the tooth. By covering these and sealing them you can stop the pain and save the tooth. This is something I will be looking further into over the next few months.

To finish I attended some cool lectures on root canal treatment in exotic patients – Snow Leopards, Lions, even Grizzly Bears! The final lecture was on how to keep the American Presidents guard dogs teeth ready for action – think titanium, scary looking teeth!


I attended the last ECVD congress in Dublin last year and this one was another step up and confirmed how important pets teeth are. With a further year of studying and clinical experience under my belt I could move from general dentistry to more advanced techniques. Does this mean some of our patents will be walking around with gold teeth – no! However, it will allow Team Westport to continue to offer the best level of dental care you can get for your pets – at a minimum means full mouth x-rays for EVERY case. As the specialists all said – not doing this means you cannot do a proper job. 

Next year EVCD is off to Innsbruck – I can’t wait!