Kernow Farm and Equine offers a complete dental service alongside our regular veterinary work. Some of our vets have undertaken further training in this field. As vets, we are able to make a diagnosis and provide you with a full treatment plan for your horse’s problem, which may or may not be tooth related. Most importantly the vet can administer pain relief, provide antibiotics and anti-tetanus prophylaxis at the same time as checking your horses’ teeth.
Should you prefer to use the services of a non-veterinary dental technician, we would encourage you to only use those who are members of British Association of Equine Dental Technicians. The members of this association are the only individuals to have untaken the appropriate examinations, carry appropriate insurance, and are accountable through a regulatory framework. Please note that whilst we are more than happy to provide sedation to aid appropriately trained and qualified dental technicians we are obliged to stay for the duration of most procedures.
We charge a significantly reduced hourly rate for this service. It is often cheaper for you if we carry out both the sedation and dental work for your horse.
BRITISH EQUINE VETERINARY ASSOCIATION AND DENTAL PREOCEDURES
EQUINE DENTAL PROCEDURES
Currently, according to the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1966, all diagnostic and treatment
procedures in the horse’s mouth are considered by the RCVS to be acts of veterinary surgery,
with the exception of the manual removal of dental overgrowths with hand instruments. This
is also the case for all other body systems involving sensitive vital tissues that are not covered
by the Farriers Act 1975. This means that, at present, most equine dental procedures are
legally restricted to veterinary surgeons.
However, since the mid 1990’s BEVA has recognised that the welfare benefits of improved
equine dental care would be better served by providing up-to-date continuing education in
equine dentistry for veterinary surgeons as well as supporting suitably trained and
accredited technicians to perform selected non-invasive procedures in the horse’s mouth. To
this end, BEVA has run many courses to improve the knowledge and skills of veterinary
surgeons keen to perform better, and more up-to-date equine dentistry. In addition, BEVA
has contributed to the training and accreditation of lay technicians in this field, now referred
to Equine Dental Technicians. In association with the British Veterinary Dental Association
(BVDA), BEVA runs an accreditation examination and successful candidates are eligible to
join the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT), who now also help run
In addition, on advice from European veterinary dental associations including the BVDA and
from human dental specialists, BEVA and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS)
have evolved a grading system of procedures, now accepted by the RCVS, the British
Veterinary Association (BVA), the BAEDT, the BVDA, and the European Veterinary Dental
College (EVDC), that clarifies those procedures which can safely be delegated to nonprofessional
technicians without compromising the animals’ safety. Although currently there
is no legal basis for non-professionals to perform acts of veterinary surgery (except where
specified in the VSA), the RCVS has indicated that they did not see a public interest in
prosecuting veterinary surgeons collaborating with accredited EDT’s to perform non-invasive
procedures (categories 1 and 2 only) provided certain conditions are met.
Currently the BAEDT is the only association for dental technicians which BEVA endorses
and encourages its members to support. The current VSA provides legal protection for
animals and their owners against potential suffering as a result of procedures performed
illegally by lay persons. There is no legal basis for non-veterinarians to perform any invasive
veterinary procedures (category 3), and there is a very strong scientific and welfare argument
not to deregulate these procedures to non-veterinarians. BEVA does not condone the illegal
performance of any invasive veterinary procedures on vital tissues in the horse’s mouth by
non-veterinarians, because of the obvious implications on horse welfare. In the absence of a
medical degree in veterinary dentistry, neither BEVA nor the BVDA recognise the term
“equine dentist”, since this misleads the public that such individuals are medically qualified..
Despite many false dawns, there is no imminent change to the legislation (Veterinary
Surgeons Act 1966), but BEVA and BVDA will support the rights of BAEDT members to
perform category 1 and 2 procedures (as currently defined) if DEFRA indicates that
legislative change is imminent.
The categories as updated on the basis of recent scientific publications are clarified below.
Equine Dental Procedures for suitably trained/qualified EDTs
Category 1 Procedures
Those procedures which an individual can perform after recognised training without specific
attainment of qualifications.
• Examination of teeth;
• Removal of sharp enamel points using manual rasps only;
• Removal of small dental overgrowths (maximum 4mm reductions) using manual
• Rostral profiling of the first cheek teeth (maximum 4mm reductions), previously
termed ‘bit seat shaping’;
• Removal of loose deciduous caps; and
• Removal of supragingival calculus.
Category 2 Procedures (Replaces category 2 as on 2004 draft)
Additional procedures suitable for delegation to an EDT who has trained and passed an
examination approved by DEFRA:
• Examination, evaluation and recording of dental abnormalities;
• The removal of loose teeth or dental fragments with negligible periodontal
• The removal of erupted, non-displaced wolf teeth in the upper or lower jaw under
direct and continuous veterinary supervision;
• Palliative rasping of fractured and adjacent teeth; and
• The use of motorised dental instruments where these are used to reduce overgrowths
and remove sharp enamel points only. Horses should be sedated unless it is deemed
safe to undertake any proposed procedure without sedation, with full informed
consent of the owner.
Category 3 procedures
All other procedures and any new procedures, which arise as a result of scientific and
technical development, would by default fall into category 3, which are those procedures
restricted to qualified veterinary surgeons and are not proposed for deregulation. It is
therefore NOT legal for these to be performed by non-veterinarians.