What Does an Equine Dental Technician (Horse Dentist) Do?

Before you decide whether or not to train as an Equine Dental Technician (EDT) it is important to have a good understanding of the work that will be involved and what your life will be like.

The job involves being responsible for the care and maintenance of horses teeth. As you will be treating horses you will likely find that the job is very physically demanding due to the sheer size and strength of these animals. You need to be able to handle the horse and rasp the teeth which can be done manually or using power tools.

In addition to the manual side of the job there are also other considerations. Many EDTs work on a self employed basis. If you plan to work this way you will need to look after the sales and marketing, finance, diary management, appointment taking and dealing with customers.

As you will be travelling to many different yards you will need a full driving licence and your own transport.

The term Equine Dental Technician is used rather than equine dentist or horse dentist as the term dentist is protected for qualified human dentists only.

The work that can be done to horses teeth is divided into 3 categories:

Category 1 includes general rasping of the teeth and removal of any tartar that is found above the gum line. This work can be undertaken by any technician there are no rules currently regarding qualification for this type of work.

Category 2 procedures are potentially more invasive and include the use of power tools for equine dentistry, extraction of loose teeth and wolf teeth and treatment of fractured teeth. These procedures can be carried out only by a qualified EDT that has passed a DEFRA approved exam such as the BEVA/ BEDA exam. Category 2 procedures by their nature may sometimes require anaesthetic or sedation which can only be administered by a vet.

Category 3 procedures are surgical procedures that should only be carried out by a vet.

When first setting up in business there is going to inevitably be an outlay not just to cover the cost of training and education but also to cover tools and equipment that you will need to carry out the work. The tools you will need may depend on the level of qualification you have for example a DEFRA qualified EDT may choose to also purchase power tools in addition to speculum and rasps that you will need.