Learning About Tools of the Trade

Richard Grist CEqD gets many questions from clients about the tools he chooses to work with and the benefits of those tools to equine dental care. As with anything “horse” related, there are endless opinions and theories passed around and adopted into the health care routines of owners. Follow along as we explain how Advanced Equine Dentistry performs dental care, why we use specific tools and procedures, and the facts behind our expert performance!

One of the first tools you will see used on your horse during a dental visit with AED is a speculum. While the speculum certainly protects the dental practitioner from being injured, its actual use is to protect your horse. Not only can horses be injured from biting down on dental tools, they can also be gravely injured from dental tools being utilized blindly. Imagine your own dentist inserting a long, sharp rasp into your own mouth without being able to see the termination of your teeth or what parts they were actually touching! The speculum, when used properly, holds the equine jaw open so that the dentist can reach every tooth surface and can see every tooth surface. Anatomically, it also creates enough separation of the grinding surfaces of the molars to allow for the removal of any ramps…..if you look at the equine skull, you can see that without opening the horse’s mouth, these final teeth stay in contact and would prevent a thorough dental procedure! It is not uncommon for AED to be called to treat horses who are having riding/bitting/head tossing issues but who have also recently been “floated”. In many of these horses, we find remaining ramps that would have been impossible to access if a speculum was not used in their previous care.

Whether you use Advanced Equine Dentistry or any other dental practitioner, your horse needs you to know that they WANT a speculum used to protect them and to allow for the very best dental procedure! It isn’t torture….it is safety!

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