dentistry“You only have to take care of the teeth you want to keep”. My human dentist told me this forty years ago, just before I helped him buy a sail boat and a condo in Tahiti. But it is just as true in the horse as it is in humans—and it won’t cost near as much as that boat! If I were to pick just one thing to do to promote the health of a horse, it would be dentistry. Health is directly related to diet and exercise. The best diet is of little use if the horse cannot properly digest the feed, his teeth are the first step in the process.

Over the last thirty years, we have come a long way in our understanding of equine dentistry. It is very complicated. If you have ever seen someone “floating” a horses’ teeth, it may look like we are just jamming a file in there knocking off sharp points. In fact, it is much more technical than that. Proper dental care requires sedation, advanced equipment and a license to practice veterinary medicine. There is no accredited veterinary dental school anywhere in the world. Although there are people who call themselves “equine dentists”, they cannot perform dental procedures without the direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian. It would not be wise to let an unlicensed person work on your teeth, so you should only trust the care of your horse to a trained, licensed professional.