Equine Dentistry

Equine Dentistry 101 DVD "promo"


The Better Horsemanship Series Equine Dentistry 101 DVD

This horse dentistry DVD video contains footage of J.R.Kelly as he works on a client horse. Jeffrey explains common teeth problems along with illustrating how they can be corrected, and how horses can be worked on without sedation. He also explains the symptoms associated with teeth problems and tips on how to choose a horse dentist.

Purchase Equine Dentistry DVD

Who Is Jeffrey R. Kelly?

Jeff Kelly has more than 35 years involvement and experience in the horse industry. His equine career includes professional horse hauling, thoroughbred exercise and pony rider, starting gate handling, horse training and over 25 years and a professional equine dentist.

Horse owners are strongly encouraged to take the responsibility of educating themselves about the horse's mouth and good dentistry techniques. Following are some answers to common questions about Equine Dentistry for horses.

What is an Equine Dentist?

A horse dentist should be using a headlamp light to check the horse's mouth. They grind float, burr teeth. Professional horse dentists stay away from cutting teeth nowadays. Top horse dentists use hand floats and motorized instruments to smooth and correct problems with horse incisor and molar teeth.

Why Equine Dentistry Maintenance Is Important To Your Horse

  • We are trying to maintain the horse’s overall health and weight so the horse can perform to full ability and potential
  • We are trying to reduce the risk of stress which can result in stomach ulcers and other stress-related problems
  • The sharp points and ridges on the edges of the molars can, and will cut the horse’s cheeks and tongue – stopping forward movement, side passing, etc.

Clues To Teeth Problems

  • Weight Loss
  • Quidding – balling of grass/hay in between the teeth and cheek
  • Bad breath from mouth/nostrils
  • Hair coat lying in wrong direction
  • Bleeding from the mouth (may have tongue damage, cheek damage or a stick lodged between upper molars)
  • Abnormal change in performance 
  • Rearing and/or flipping over backwards 
  • Bolting 
  • Lying Down (More than Normal) 
  • Bucking 
  • Tilting head when being ridden or when eating 
  • Difficult to put the bit into mouth 
  • Colic 
  • Taking excessive time to eat

The following signs may be due to headaches caused by bad dental problems: 

  • Ridge over eyes, near eyebrow
  • Filmy looking eyes
  • Stressed look

Click on pictures to view larger

The Results Of Good Dental Maintenance

  • 10-35% savings in feed costs
  • much improved willingness to respond to training
  • improved body condition and muscle tone
  • shinier hair coat, the hair lying in proper direction
  • better eating habits and decreased eating time
  • head position held normally when training and eating
  • head tossing ceases
  • overall, happier horses with improved character

In the series of photos below you will see 1st top molar hooks on right and left. These hooks are ¾ to 1 ½ inches long. The longest 1st top molar hook that I have reduced was 4 inches in length.

Both mares and geldings can have molar hooks. These hooks stop a horse from eating properly and getting the most from its feed. By reducing these teeth (the hooks) and balancing the whole horse’s mouth, your feed bill may be reduced by 10-20% each month!

Hooks can cause problems such as: flipping over, bolting, not taking the bit, not training to full potential, stomach ulcers, not traveling straight or in forward motion, etc.

How Often Should I Have My Horse Seen By A Professional Equine Dentist?

  • Mature horses (5 years and older) should have their mouths looked at once a year at least. Performance horses should be examined twice a year.
  • Young horses aged two; three and four years old should be looked at 2-3 times a year.
  • Weanlings should be checked once to ensure no major irregularities are developing and to smooth off any sharp edges.

Where To Find A Professional Equine Dentist

Finding an Equine horseman or woman for your horses dental maintenance and to help deal with other horse-related problems:

  • IAED web site (International Association of Equine Dentists)
  • Contact large stables or farms, racetrack personnel/secretary to see who they use.
  • Ask other horse professionals in your area (farrier, massage therapy technicians, etc).
  • Inquire at tack shops, tack repair shops, feed stores and/or look for posted business cards.
  • Local newspaper, horse magazines, the Internet.

Questions To Ask Your Equine Dentist

  • How many years of education and experience
  • References?
  • What breeds worked with
  • Racetrack experience verified by licenses, win photos
  • Number of horses worked on daily/annually
  • Participation and frequency of attending upgrade courses.
  • Photo album or DVD available of cases.
  • Kind of tools used (sizes vary in horses, and so does the equipment needed to treat them)

See if you can go and watch this person work. Observe their mannerisms, and handling methods with the horse. Important:- not all horse dentist's , lay people or veterinarians have the same ability, experience, knowledge, attitude towards doing work in the horse's mouth. Now in Europe NO ONE is allowed to work in a horses mouth unless their are working with an association group and a knowledge dentist this also applies to everyone even veterinarians.