Why Use a Vet Equine Dentist?

Even in states where NVDLPs are legal, they can only use hand floats unless supervised by a veterinarian. It is illegal for them to sedate your horse at all. Would you have a cavity filled without benefit of anesthesia?

Now you know why they claim to be “gentle” and “don’t need sedation” to get the job done, because legally they can’t!

Furthermore, the job that does get done is a poor one at best. The sad part of it is that the horse can’t speak for himself so it is the horse that suffers from the negligence and incompetence of the NVDLP. The uninformed / conned horse owner now believes that their horses’ teeth have been adequately cared for when just the opposite is the case.

Many NVDLPs apply principles and procedures that they think are necessary without research to support their claims. Much of the information that the lay dentists use and apply to their practice is incorrect, and often detrimental to the health of the horse and their teeth. The NVDLPs that are good and providing adequate dental care are few and far between.

See photos of horses with neglected and damaged teeth “maintained” by NVDLPs.

Vet Equine Dentistry members continue the quest for more information about equine dentistry, but only from sources that support their claims with scientific research.

An equine dentist is a licensed veterinarian with postdoctorate or advanced training in dentistry. Only licensed veterinarians are allowed to sedate horses, so this is critical.

Furthermore, to accomplish a thorough floating of the horse’s teeth requires specialized power equipment. If the practitioner does not use power tools, you are doing a disservice to your horse.

Beware of NVDLPs not working with a veterinarian. In most states, they are not allowed to administer sedation.

Check the laws for your state

Anyone can claim to be an equine dentist, and there is no oversight.

First, ask your veterinarian if he/she practices equine dentistry. If she does, ask if she has specialized training and uses power tools. Ask whether he has received any formal training. Board certification in veterinary dentistry focuses on small animals, so (unfortunately) having that designation is not entirely helpful. Ask your vet for her recommendations. Ask friends for recommendations. Plan to be present the first time the dentist comes to treat your horse.

Remember, knowledge is key. Learn as much as possible. The more you learn, the better the care for your horse.