Parodies and periodontal disease—Why you shouldn’t miss Brook Niemiec’s sessions at AAHA Con 2023
There are rock star specialists—and then there’s Brook Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC. Not only is he board-certified in veterinary dentistry in both the American and European Veterinary Dental Colleges, along with being a fellow in the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, but he’s also the director of the San Diego Veterinary Dental Training Center and co-founder of the veterinary dental telemedicine website VetDentalRad.com. Plainly speaking, the man knows his way around a pet’s mouth.
And this September at AAHA Con, Niemiec will be sharing his knowledge (and his musical talents) with attendees in that are sure to shake up your approach to and understanding of veterinary dentistry.
“The number one thing that people are always shocked about is that we do almost no surgical extractions in our practice,” Niemiec said. In human literature, closed extractions have been proven to be less painful and have fewer complications than the traditional first step used in veterinary dentistry, which is to make a big flap and drill all the bone away, he said. “We have published several articles,” he said, “and are working on some more to prove the value of minimally invasive surgery techniques.”
But whether dental surgery is common within your practice or not, Niemiec believes there’s something for everyone in his session—especially since, as he says, “much of what people have been taught about dentistry in the past is incorrect, [so] everyone will benefit from the most recent research.”
Because he did his residency in a private specialty/general practice, he considers himself a general practitioner at heart, and therefore, he said, “I tend to teach in a very general practitioner/technician accessible manner, so that they can understand exactly what I mean without the big words.”
And, he adds, you should probably be prepared to be inspired. “I’m often called the televangelist of vet dentistry,” he said.
Something for everyone in any practice
While the importance of learning about minimally invasive extraction techniques can’t be overstated, that’s far from Niemiec’s sole focus. He’ll also be addressing some common misconceptions in veterinary dentistry, like the idea the pets will stop eating because of oral disease. “Animals will eat through almost any oral pain,” he said.
And it’s crucial that all members of the veterinary team understand not only the significant consequences of periodontal disease, he said, but also the true cause. Recognizing this will not only allow technicians and veterinarians to perform better professional care, he said, but will also enable them to select appropriate dental homecare for their patients.
Working in a different specialty? Niemiec hope you’ll still pull up a chair. “Even other specialists will benefit from the knowledge of what periodontal disease causes locally and systemically,” he said. Plus, he added, “The buzzwords and client communication techniques will aid all members of the practice team in communicating with clients better.” Every member of the practice will benefit from the knowledge they’ll gain about pain and infection from dental disease, and that will improve compliance with dental recommendations. That compliance won’t only improve the patient’s health, but also practice income, he said.
When one guitar just won’t cut it
Those who have seen Niemiec speak in recent years or have followed him on social media know that his teachings aren’t the only draw—attendees will also have a front row seat to a couple of fun, toothy takes on well-known songs. And for AAHA Con, he’ll be bringing not just one but two guitars to better accompany his musical parodies that reinforce the key points of his sessions, such as:
- Oral pathology: “It’s Your Job to Relieve This Pain” (to the tune of The Police’s “King of Pain”)
- Periodontal disease: “You’ve Gotta Clean Those Low Places” (to the tune of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places”)
- Extractions: “Bye-bye Little Tooth That Has Died” (to Don McLean’s “American Pie”)
- Radiology: “99-70-45” (to Tommy Tutone’s “867-5309/Jenny”)
Be sure to catch Niemiec’s concert—erm, session—and many others at AAHA Con, taking place September 20–23 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego, where you’ll have the opportunity to take your knowledge to the next level with over 80 hours of medical and nonmedical continuing education.
Photos courtesy of Brook Niemiec
Disclaimer: The views expressed, and topics discussed, in any NEWStat column or article are intended to inform, educate, or entertain, and do not represent an official position by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or its Board of Directors.