Horses’ teeth should ideally be checked from day one and throughout their lives. At birth, abnormalities such as parrot mouth or wry nose may be picked up and then treatment can be instigated early to ensure the best chance of success.
Sharp edges may develop early and some horses require routine dental examinations and even rasping of their teeth from as early as one year of age! We recommend that your horses’ teeth are checked every 6-12 months throughout the first 10-12 years of their lives. Horses with particularly good dentition may only require an annual check.
My horse has a dental problem… what shall I do and who shall I contact?
Loss of weight is often attributed to dental disease in horses. However, there are a huge number of different causes of weight loss in horses and dental disease is only one of those. If you are worried that your horse has a tooth problem, it is important to contact your veterinary surgeon in the first instance to be sure that this is indeed the underlying cause of the problem.
Who can perform a dental on my horse?
Any of the large animal vets at the Meopham Veterinary Hospital are able to perform routine dental work using hand rasps. Contrary to popular belief, equine dentistry is recognised as an important subject area and all veterinary schools in the UK ensure the correct amount of tuition and research into the subject.
For more specialist work such as molar tooth removal or the use of motorised instruments, a referral may be organised. It is advisable to have a check up with your usual veterinary surgeon prior to organising such work.
Equine dental technicians also exist. Many of these are extremely skilled and knowledgeable but there is an equal number who have limited training. We encourage that you check the credentials of such technicians. Most technicians who are working to the highest standards have been examined by the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT). BAEDT members work to high standards, maintain a commitment to continuing professional development and are bound by a code of conduct.
It is important to note that sedation for dentistry may only be performed by a veterinary surgeon. Please contact us if you require your horse to be sedated for the dentist.