What is an IAED/CEDT?
IAED/CEDT is an International Association of Equine Dentistry/Certified Equine Dental Technician. The IAED is a VA endorsed, independent certifying association comprised of EDTs and veterinarians working side-by-side to develop and promote a standard of excellence in equine dentistry through their certification program, conferences, and continuing education.
How often does my horse need a dental exam?
All foals should have a dental exam at birth, followed by 6 month check-ups and float to age 5, when all permanent teeth have erupted. After age 5 horses should be checked and floated at least once a year. Age, performance demands, or special problems may require more frequent attention.
What are the advantages of hand-floating?
Hand-floating is a “custom” float accomplished by using a variety of lengths and angled floats addressing the specific dental needs of an individual horse. Each tooth in the molar arcades is leveled and planed, the mouth is well-balanced, a proper bitseat is installed for specific riding disciplines, canines reduced and buffed, and incisors are addressed as necessary.
Hand-floating minimizes the risk of removing too much tooth…
…as well as, reduces the risks of extreme tissue trauma, hyperextension/muscle trauma or injury to the horse’s head & neck from head suspension or maintaining horse’s head at the eye-level of the practitioner, as well as the need for heavy sedation.
Do all horses and ponies need to have their teeth floated?
Yes. As a horse naturally grinds his food in a lateral circular motion, the reserve crown (beneath the gum line) gradually erupts throughout his lifetime. Wherever 2 teeth do not meet, sharp edges and problems can occur. Sharp teeth, cheek and tongue lacerations, and malocclusion problems are not only painful to your horse, but can be responsible for the inability to properly grind and may cause performance problems.
What are wolf teeth?
Wolf teeth are small vestigial teeth not necessary for proper grinding, however can interfere with bitting thereby contributing to performance problems. Your EDT will routinely check for and remove wolf teeth, preferably at an early age and prior to bitting.
What are caps?
A cap is a deciduous (baby) tooth that normally sheds at specific intervals in a young horse. Your EDT may remove loose or retained caps during a routine dental maintenance visit. Horses less than age 5 should have 6 month dental visits due to teething.
As a horse owner, what clues could I look for that might indicate a dental problem?
• Weight loss and poor condition, even when worming, vaccination, nutrition, and hoof care programs are up to date
• Bolting grain, dribbling feed, choosing hay before grain, tilting head to one side while chewing, dropping half-chewed food from mouth, slow tedious mastication, choke, colic
• Quidding or manure showing an excessive amount of undigested food particles
• Excessive drooling, change in eating or drinking habits
• Bad odor from mouth or nostrils
• Sores, puncture wounds, or lacerations on gums, tongue, or cheeks
• Performance problems such as tilting or head tossing, sensitivity or difficulty bitting, lugging, rearing, troubled expression, change in performance, or over all poor concentration and attitude from your horse
• Inability to shift lower jaw from side to side, abnormal carriage of tongue