We operate a 24 hour emergency service
Woodbridge: 01394 380083 Felixstowe: 01394 284554 Rendlesham: 01394 420964 Ipswich: 01473 274040
We operate a 24 hour emergency service
Woodbridge: 01394 380083
Felixstowe: 01394 284554
Rendlesham: 01394 420964
Ipswich: 01473 274040

Dental Services

All the equine vets at Ryder-Davies and Partners carry out a significant amount of routine dental work and are available to examine and treat your horse or donkey. This is frequently done in combination with the annual vaccinations. 

What is required?

  • A safe stable or enclosed area/shelter without low ceilings.
  • A head collar with an adjustable nose strap and lead rope.
  • A person able to competently hold the horse during examination and treatment (we strongly advise handlers to wear suitable protective hats and boots).
  • A bucket of clean water that you do not mind having disinfectant in.

The Examination:

  • Discussion of potential issues including eating, bitting and contact issues and any previously identified problems. 
  • Examination of the head and jaw
  • Examination of the incisors, including identifying any abnormal wear or position
  • Placement of Hausmann’s gag to enable examination of cheek teeth, tongue and other soft tissue structures. This is via palpation and visualization and we may use a mirror depending on the findings. 
  • Diagnosing abnormalities
  • Removing sharp enamel points and dental overgrowths. In general this is done with manual rasps, although for certain cases we may use a power rasp. 
  • Diastema flushing
  • Some abnormalities may require a follow up visit, or a visit to the clinic in order to carry out treatment. 


Not all horses require sedation for routine dental rasping, however in many cases, sedation allows for a more thorough examination of the mouth. It also enables us to complete the required treatment safely, to the best standard and can make the experience better for the horse, the owner and the vet! For cases requiring power rasping, we will always sedate the horse, as these tools can cause considerable damage if the horse moves too much during the procedure. 

Wolf Teeth:

Wolf teeth are small and sit just in front of the cheek teeth. They don’t appear to serve any function in the modern horse, however they can occasional cause bitting issues if they are too far forward (not all wolf teeth need removing!). We are able to remove them under sedation either at your yard or in our clinic if they are causing a problem. 

Who can perform ‘dentals’ on horses?

There is some confusion as to who is the best person to perform dental work on your horse. We strongly advise that you only use a vet or a suitably trained and qualified Equine Dental Technician (such as a BAEDT). Below are the different levels of dental work that different people can perform as set out in legislation. 

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 rasps only; • 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 attachments • 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.