A Visit to the Dentist   4 comments

Actually, in the case of horses, it’s a visit from the dentist.

And the equine dentist was here today.  He had several patients lined up, mostly older horses that needed their teeth worked on.

While horses very rarely have cavities, they do lose teeth, whereupon the opposing teeth grow down and interfere with chewing.  Or naturally irregular teeth become worse with time, and fail to meet properly.  Or sharp edges may develop, even cutting into the cheeks or tongue.  So older horses may need regular visits from the dentist.

Now horses, of course, can’t be persuaded to open their mouths for the nice man.  So a device called a speculum is used to wedge the mouth open.  Then a motorized grinder is used to file down sharp edges and even the bite.

The gelding being worked on here is about thirty-five.  That’d be over a hundred in human years.


Naturally, the horse isn’t happy about this, so usually he is tranquilized to lessen the stress . . . on all parties concerned.


We have a speculum somewhere, and Billy used to do dental work like this.  He had to file the teeth down by hand, though, which is much harder.  The motorized grinder is more accurate, as well.  It sounds awful, though.  The drill at a human dentist’s is musical by comparison.  And there’s quite a bit of smell, too.


The wire loop over the nose might be used to raise the horse’s head, if necessary.

Here’s a close-up view.


Those long yellow canine teeth tell you this is an old male.  Mares may have them, but they’d usually be much smaller.

It wasn’t long before the patient was done, and by now he’s back in his own pasture.  He’s in what we think of as the geriatric pen, and all three horses in it are over thirty.  It’ll take a few weeks before we know if the dentistry helped, but it’s one of those things that can make a lot of difference to an equine senior citizen.

P. S.  It doesn’t hurt.  The dentist doesn’t grind into the nerve.


Posted October 18, 2013 by stablewoman in Horses, Uncategorized

4 responses to “A Visit to the Dentist

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  1. Poor guy. It looks like he enjoys the dentist about as much as I do.

  2. Who is the dentist?

  3. Thanks!

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