Meet the NorthStar VETS Team: John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC

John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC is a doctor in the Dentistry and Oral Surgery service at NorthStar VETS. In this video, he talks about his education in veterinary medicine, the types of cases he sees, and what he loves most about NorthStar VETS.

Dr. Lewis’ Path to Veterinary Dentistry
We caught up with Dr. John Lewis, who was performing a procedure on a patient. Dr. Lewis is a veterinarian who specializes in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery. He grew up in a household with a large family of pets. “I knew as I got older that I wanted to do something in the health professions, so it seemed like a natural fit to go into veterinary medicine. I went to the University of Pennsylvania and graduated from there in 1997 and then I went out into general practice for five years. In every rotation I did in veterinary school, I felt like I would possibly be doing thas as a specialty long-term, but I decided to go into general practice to sort that out and determine if there was really a specialty I wanted to do or if I just wanted to stay in general practice. I enjoyed general practice quite a bit, but I found myself doing more and more dentistry and felt like I needed to go back to the University to do a residency. I wanted to learn more about it and do a better job with it. After I finished my residency, I stayed on as a professor at Penn, but started to do some work at NorthStar VETS on the weekends. I was really impressed by the facility, and I knew if I was ever going to leave academia, it was going to need to be a place like this that has all the bells and whistles and has a good collegial atmosphere.”

“There is so much benefit that you can bring to the lives of pets in terms of removing dental pain and other issues. We can really help to improve the quality of life of a lot of patients.”

The Most Common Types of Cases Dr. Lewis Sees in the Dentistry and Oral Surgery Service
Dr. Lewis sees a wide variety of different cases each week. “We see cases where the patient may need dental work such as extractions, cleanings where there is a higher anesthetic risk, oral tumors that require having a portion of the jaw removed to try and get a cure on a cancer, or jaw fractures that need to be repaired. Those are some of the more fun and challenging cases.”

Regular cleanings and dental checkups with your family veterinarian can make a huge difference in a pet’s health. “Dentistry and oral surgery is such a new profession that’s only been around since 1988. It is an up-and-coming profession and it’s something that anyone who does it on a regular basis realizes that there is so much benefit that you can bring to the lives of pets in terms of removing a potential dental pain and other issues that if you ever had a toothache, you know how painful that can be. We can really help to improve the quality of life of a lot of patients.

The Best Thing About Working at NorthStar VETS According to Dr. Lewis
The team at NorthStar VETS helps Dr. Lewis provide world class care to dozens of patients each week. “I think my favorite part about being here is the team. It’s a very good group of people that I work with and it is nice to be able to have all the various specialties all together under one roof. For example, I can get a consult from a doctor who needs to help us out with a particular case and so it is something that is really nice to have. And not just all the equipment, but all the professional people who are experts in their field. I think that pet parents who come to us are obviously very concerned about their pet and hopefully they’ll end up leaving happy with how their pet is doing, how they can function, and how they look.”

Learn more about the Dentistry and Oral Surgery service at NorthStar VETS.

John Lewis, VMD, FAVD, DAVDC
Dr. Lewis graduated from University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997 and spent five years in general practice prior to returning for a residency in dentistry and oral surgery. He became a Fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry (AVD) in 2004 and a Diplomate of the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC) in 2005.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Lewis has served as Associate Professor of Dentistry and Oral Surgery, associate director of the Mari Lowe Center for Comparative Oncology, and more recently, as Chief of Surgery. His research interests include oral surgical oncology, maxillofacial fracture repair, maxillofacial reconstruction, new therapies for treatment of feline oral squamous cell carcinoma, and lasers in oral surgery and dentistry.

Dr. Lewis is a past president of the American Veterinary Dental Society, and has served as examination chair of the AVDC and credentials chair of the AVD. Prior to joining NorthStar VETS full time in October 2013, Dr. Lewis was the residency director of the world’s first academic residency in veterinary dentistry and oral surgery at The University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Lewis received the AVDC Outstanding Candidate award in 2004, the Hills AVDS Education and Research Award in 2012 and the AVD Fellow of the Year award in 2013.

Dr. Lewis is the proud father of six boys, two dogs, and two cats, all of whom keep him busy outside of work.

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