Okay, so we are using a bit of wordplay here – the canines you normally associate with a trip to the dentist would be the canine tooth, also called the cuspid or eyetooth. In mammals (and that includes us!) this refers to any of the single-cusped (pointed), usually single-rooted teeth, which are adapted for tearing food, and occur behind or beside the incisors (front teeth).
Well that’s enough of the dental anatomy lecture. The canines in the attached photo are three adorable Jack Russell Terriers who accompanied their ‘Mum’ on a recent appointment at DBay Dental. They made a ‘rock star’ appearance at reception to say hello and then left with their entourage (aka their ‘Dad’) to no doubt sign autographs or do whatever it is that adorable canine stars do.
This brings us to the emerging notion of dental therapy dogs in Australia. Dogs have long been lauded as ‘man’s best friend’, favoured for their ability to lift spirits and give reassurance in times of adversity. There is an increasing use of therapy dogs worldwide, and the long list of institutions utilizing them now includes a dental practice in Queensland (at Moranbah) where dogs are making their calming debut in a bid to relieve the nervousness of patients, particularly children. Therapy dogs are not yet in regular use in dental practices, but it is an interesting trend. Guide dogs have been welcomed into dental practices for many years and we have had some memorable visits from some lovely service dogs (hi Kane), and their owners too!
(With thanks to the February 2017 issue of the Australian Dental Association News Bulletin.)