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Equine Dentistry

Equine Dentistry

Much like humans, horses need regular dental checkups, chiefly because their cheek teeth grow about 3mm a year. For this reason, we strongly recommend you have your horse’s teeth checked at least once a year, though preferably every six months.

Dental checks can be performed by your vet or a specialist equine dentist or equine dental technician. The vet or dentist will have the skills to fully examine your horse’s teeth and assess any problems.

While some horses can be predisposed to dental problems, issues can be caused through injury, infection, eating habits, or even ill-fitting tack.

While regulations may differ from country to country, in the UK, equine dentists regularly provide routine examinations and treatments. However, they are not licenced to perform extractions or more complicated procedures without a vet present because they are not permitted to administer sedatives or other drugs.

All qualified equine dentists should be registered with a governing body, such as the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians or the WorldWide Association of Equine Dentistry.

During a routine dental examination, the vet or dentist should take a full history of your horse’s eating habits, and any problems experienced. They will then examine the horses’ incisors (front teeth) before placing a gag in the horse’s mouth to keep the jaw open, thereby making it safe for them to insert their hands. They will then examine the back teeth (molars) and feel for any abnormalities such as sharp areas or overgrowths. A rasp will be used to file and adjust the teeth where necessary.

Though a visit to the dentist is never an overly pleasant experience for anyone, it should be a relatively painless and stress free experience for your horse – not to mention a necessary one.

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