23 March 2022
In twenty years, the Eläinklinikka Avec veterinary clinic has grown from a one-person practice to a full-service animal clinic with 25 employees and a special focus on veterinary dental care. While a strategic decision to invest in high-quality devices has contributed to the development and growth of the clinic, the Planmeca Group equipment has helped the clinic’s veterinarians to provide even better care for their patients.
Chita Wahlroos, Licentiate of Veterinary Medicine, founded her own veterinary practice in 2001, soon after her graduation. Back then, the facilities located next to his father’s dental clinic were still modest but had a huge influence in Wahlroos’ career as a veterinarian. The previous user had left their dental unit in the practice, which Wahlroos started using for her patients. Dental care thus became an integral part of the practice’s services.
Today, the Eläinklinikka Avec veterinary clinic has modern facilities of over 600 m2, in which 25 veterinarians and assistants offer a full range of veterinary services, including dental care. The clinic has a separate dental suite with two dental units. Wahlroos herself is performing dental treatments on cats and dogs full time.
High-quality veterinary dentistry with state-of-the-art equipment
In order to perform veterinary treatments on a high-quality level, the equipment must function well and answer to the veterinarian’s needs, Wahlroos believes. This principle has steered the development of Avec veterinary clinic and made the clinic relocate twice in order to have enough space. Over the years, the basic equipment has been complemented with special technology, including a CBCT imaging unit Planmed Verity® VET.
“Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) enables more precise and better diagnostics. Although I am not a veterinary dental diplomate and do not perform the most demanding dental operations, I have found CBCT useful in my daily work as well. In comparison with intraoral 2D images, a 3D volume gives more detailed diagnostic information on e.g. dental cysts and for performing tooth extractions by providing precise information on the structure of the mandibular canal,” Wahlroos explains.
In veterinary medicine, CBCT technology is not yet widely used or even well-known, although it is already considered mainstream in human medicine, especially in dentistry. Most likely all possible indications for CBCT in animal care have not even been recognised yet. Therefore, Wahlroos thinks being one of the first users in Finland is exciting and even ground-breaking.
“We constantly find new applications for cone-beam computed tomography in veterinary medicine. For example, the orthopaedists at our clinic use CBCT for elbow joint diagnostics and for imaging the toe joints of paws. CBCT is also more cost-efficient than taking conventional CT images, which is why some other clinics refer their patients to our clinic for CBCT imaging,” Wahlroos continues.
According to Wahlroos, CBCT has also proven to be a useful and reliable tool for diagnosing ear patients. Although it is not possible to distinguish between different soft tissues in X-ray images, the CBCT image gives reliable information on the tympanic part of the temporal bone behind the membrane. The tympanic part looks clear in the CBCT images, if there are no issues behind the membrane that would require a surgical operation.
The clinicians at Avec use Planmeca Romexis® imaging software for viewing the images. The clinic had previously used Romexis to view 2D images that had been captured with Planmeca ProX™ intraoral device, as Romexis allows viewing and processing both 2D and 3D images in the same single software. As a result of adding the CBCT unit in the clinic’s range, the Romexis software was upgraded with a 3D module. According to Wahlroos, learning to process the 3D images with the new module was easy since the clinic was already familiar with the software.
“Romexis has been built in a way that makes it intuitive and easy to use for everyone, even for people like me, who are not that much into tech. You can just start using Romexis and will learn the image processing on the go. Even our ear specialist, who had no previous experience in using Romexis, learned to use it quickly,” Wahlroos says.
Eläinklinikka Avec sends some of the CBCT images to an external radiologist for interpretation. This is also easy with Romexis, which allows exporting and transferring images with just a few clicks.
Investing in equipment as a part of the business strategy
Eläinklinikka Avec moved to the current facilities in 2014. As the previous facilities were getting too small, the development of the new clinic begun with a strategic business plan. Wahlroos believes it is impossible to develop a growing clinic based on the love for animals alone, without a clear vision for the future.
”The bigger the ship, the more important it is to steer it in the right direction. When we made the decision to move to larger facilities, we also made the strategic decision that we want to be profiled as a top-level veterinary clinic that offers high-quality diagnostics and treatments beyond the basic level. We acknowledged that we cannot achieve our vision only with veterinarian hands and skills but also need proper equipment for that,” Wahlroos tells.
After the most recent expansion, the Avec veterinary clinic has been able to offer its customers completely new services, such as day hospital services and endoscopy, especially of the alimentary canal. Furthermore, the new facilities allowed expanding the cardiology services and moving orthopaedic surgery procedures to a separate operating room. Moreover, the equipment maintenance was notably improved.
The new facilities also enabled Wahlroos and her crew to tap into the increasing demand for veterinary dental care by expanding the dental ward. Avec selected Finnish dental supplier Plandent for implementing their future vision and strategic plans. Now, the dental suite has two Planmeca Compact™ i Touch dental care units equipped with Planmeca ProX intraoral X-ray devices. With the units, two veterinarians can perform dental treatments simultaneously – without compromising safety.
The Avec veterinary clinic decided to invest in a second Planmeca dental care unit and intraoral X-ray due to their previous excellent experiences. According to Wahlroos, the support by Plandent for using Planmeca devices has been important, since even the most sophisticated piece of technology does not help if the staff does not know how to use it.
“Skilled personnel, who know what they are doing, is of utmost importance. Therefore, we do not only invest in equipment, but in professional employees as well. That covers recruiting new talents and offering our staff proper training. These often go hand in hand: it is impossible to get ambitious veterinary professionals to work for you if you cannot offer them proper tools for their daily work,” Wahlroos says.
“The Planmeca Group’s medical and dental devices are of high quality and cost-efficient. For example, it is possible to capture 3D images with Planmed Verity VET in less than a minute, which means the patient does not need to be in general anaesthesia, but rather properly sedated. This way, the procedure is very cost-efficient and safe both for the patient and clinic alike,” Wahlroos explains.
Special attention to ergonomics
The entire treatment workflow, employees, patients and customers – the pet owners – were all considered in the clinic planning to make the clinic as functional as possible. The waiting room of the clinic is cosy and inviting, while the clinical facilities have a high-end look and feel. Furthermore, infection control and ergonomics have also been taken into account in the clinical working environment.
The dental suite’s infrastructure allows Wahlroos and her team to pay special attention to the soundscape and working ergonomics as they perform dental treatments. Unlike traditional solutions, the compressor for the dental units has been installed in a separate space, minimising the disturbing sound of the device. The dental units also allow Wahlroos and her team to use a micromotor with a red handpiece in addition to traditional turbines, which has further improved working ergonomics.
Special attention to ergonomics has also affected the choice of hand instruments at Avec veterinary clinic. Wahlroos uses LM ErgoSense™ hand instruments for example for removing calculus from the teeth.
”The instruments by LM-Dental are comfortable to use and excellent when it comes to ergonomics. Many veterinarians say that our work is physically demanding, but I do not share that experience, although I can imagine what they mean. With ergonomically great products, it is easier to preserve the right grip and technique throughout the day, which allows the quality of the dental treatments to stay on a high level without exceptions,” Wahlroos tells.
Copy: Mari Koivunen
Images: Dino Azinur