Local doggie dentist starts nation’s first ‘Tooth Fairy Fund’

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SAN DIEGO -- A local veterinarian dentist is hoping a new nonprofit fund will help save the lives of pets nationwide.

Dr. Brook Niemiec, owner of Southern California Veterinary Dental Specialties and Oral Surgery, has already saved more than two dozen pets in need of oral surgery.

“Most pets suffer in silence, and I would bet that over half of the pets out there have some kind of dental disease,” said the San Diego surgeon.

The Tooth Fairy Fund was established to help people who cannot afford dental care for their pets. In December, the program organized a clinic for the San Diego Humane Society and Animal Control to take care of several serious dental issues for adoptable pets.

“She had almost all of her teeth pulled. She has two canines left that I can see…literally saving the dog, that’s what he did,” said Judy Roselli of University City.

Roselli adopted Zoe, a terrier mix, following the pup’s surgery. In January, she brought Zoe back to reunite with Dr. Niemiec.

“They come back two weeks later and they’re like, ‘Dr. Niemiec, you were right. I had no idea there was anything wrong with my dog, but he’s acting like a puppy again,’” Niemiec said.

He says the program is formatted to allow for veterinarians throughout the country to implement at their own practices, extending its reach past Southern California.

“We donate $1 for every tooth that we extract in any of our practices,” Niemiec said.

Similar programs exist for other operations, but the Tooth Fairy Fund is the only one specifically focused on dental issues, covering the expense of operations and anesthesia.

Experts say the procedures help make shelter pets more adoptable when owners are comparing which to choose.

“They’re just not very adoptable, and so unfortunately they languish there and they suffer and sometimes they honestly get put to sleep because of their dental disease because they’re so unadoptable,” Niemiec said.

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