5 Questions for a Dental Specialist

In this new series, we ask a different specialist 5 questions about their specialty and what it means to them. This month we talk to Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP, owner of Hometown Animal Hospital & All Pets Dental in Weston, Florida, who is one of the few board-certified veterinary dentists in the country.

Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP

Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP, is one of the few board-certified veterinary dentists in the country. He is the owner of Hometown Animal Hospital & All Pets Dental in Weston, Florida.


What made you choose your specialty area?

I attended a dental wet lab given by a veterinarian who was also a dentist. When I returned to my practice, I found nearly all my patients needed dental care. Fortunately, in my shopping center was a dentist who loved animals, so it began. Many pets suffer in silence from dental diseases, and by specializing in this area, I could make a tangible difference in their quality of life.


What is one thing you wish you could tell general practitioners regarding your specialty?

Dental health is not just about teeth but the whole system. Early detection and timely care can drastically change an animal’s happiness and life!


What is one thing that clients could do that would make your job more satisfying?

Regular at-home dental care, especially with daily wiping of the outside surfaces of the teeth in dogs and Q-tips dipped in tuna water rubbed against the gingival margin for cats, can make a difference. Clients can also make use of VOHC.org products to decrease plaque accumulation. It’s about preventing dental disease and strengthening the bond between pets and their owners. If clients took a proactive approach to their pets’ dental care, we’d see fewer severe cases and more happy, healthy smiles.


What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Witnessing the transformation of an animal’s behavior and wellbeing after a successful dental procedure is immensely gratifying. Seeing a once lethargic or pained pet become lively and playful again after addressing their dental issues is fantastic. Knowing that I played a part in alleviating their discomfort and potentially extending their life is incredibly fulfilling. Caring for the dental needs of large exotics (gorillas, bears, chimps, sloths, tapirs, and even porcupines) in zoos and sanctuaries has also been highly gratifying. Interacting with veterinarians who want to learn more is more than satisfying.


What advice would you give to someone considering your specialty?

This specialty is not just about technical skills; it’s about patience, attention to detail, and a genuine passion for improving animals’ lives. Continual learning is critical, as the field of veterinary dentistry is constantly evolving. Additionally, communication skills are vital, as educating pet owners about dental health is a significant part of the job. If you’re truly committed, the professional and personal rewards are immense.

Photo courtesy of Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP



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