Australian Equine Dental PracticeTM
Peter Borgdorff 2014
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This page was updated 30 September 2014.

AEDP Diploma Equine Dentistry - General Information

Please refer to the Home Page for information about each specific AEDP Diploma course such as costs and dates.



There are a number of issues to consider when deciding on how to learn equine dentistry.  Please be aware of the following important information when making your training choice:

  • Australia currently has no nationally endorsed equine dentistry course in operation.  There is only a state accredited Certificate IV 'Work Practices for Equine Dental Technicians' course which inadequately addresses the industry needs which have been documented by AgriFoods and which has resulted in a nationally endorsed Certificate IV in Equine Dentistry.  Due to funding cutbacks there is no institution which has introduced this much more comprehensive course.  A nationally endorsed Diploma in Equine Dentistry course is currently 'work in progress'.
  • Equine dentistry may be a suitable career for caring, fastidious and reputable people.  The industry needs those who base their career on methods that are sound and proven by the test of time.
  • Different courses teach different methods.  Some are science based, some are not. 
  • Equine dental treatment is not always carried out correctly.  Often this is due to the use of bad equipment or to 'advanced' or 'over' treatment, frequently with power tools.  Owners of horses are not aware of the hazards of removing substantial amounts of dental material especially when burrs or grinders are applied without water cooling.  In some cases water-cooled diamond coated high speed equipment is useful to correct certain abnormalities. 
  • Operating a dental practice requires more than just a basic knowledge of dentistry. There are ethical and business matters to be dealt with as part of the operation of a practice.
  • Manual treatment equipment may appear basic but has been designed for good oral access with a minimum of stress to the horse.  Efforts by some to introduce crude power tools goes contrary to good practice and consideration of the horse.  The need to sedate a large percentage of horses must also be questioned.
  • Quality work is regarded highly by clients who have had the opportunity to examine the dentist's work.  However, some succumb to peer group pressure when it comes to selecting an equine dentist.
  • Membership of most associations is not a guarantee of continuous quality control.  Clients are left to learn from bad experiences and often the horse's health suffers.


Training with the Australian Equine Dental Practice is private, non-government endorsed training and consists of distance education after which there is an intensive on-site teaching and training period.  Free from government restraints and the teaching of irrelevant subjects -course padding- much new material has been introduced since commencement of the course and the course duration has been extended. Twelve months of coaching support follows the training period.

There are two types of training:

  • Diploma for persons with suitable education, knowledge and horse skills
  • Postgraduate training for Veterinary Surgeons

The element of observation to learn procedures and techniques is very important during the on-site portion of the  training.  Dissections are done at abattoirs and business practices are also taught.  These subjects and many others allow trainees to get a fundamental grasp on the subject of equine dentistry and conduct their own business.  Upon successful completion you will receive a diploma from the Australian Equine Dental Practice.


Upon acceptance of your training application, you become a Trainee of the Practice.  Following successful training you become a Diplomate Equine Dentist.

Fees for DED training are:

  • an initial fee payable before commencement of training. (Same fee for veterinary Postgraduate training)
  • a second fee payable on or before the commencement date.(Same fee for veterinary Postgraduate training) Please refer to brochures on the home page to download the latest fee information.
Additionally, there is an application fee to accompany the training application form.  This fee is not refundable.  Please ask any questions relevant to your intentions prior to applying. You may call +61 (0)414 566 789 or E-mail to discuss your intentions.

Twelve months after completing training you may become Diplomate Equine Dentist after further proficiency tests.  The objective in having staged grades is to encourage continued improvement of equine dentists. Training fees for DED also include the benefits noted below under par. 4.

Potential trainees should note that a set of standard treatment equipment is not included. Please download the relevant Training Brochure from the home page.  Make a small allowance for books, stationary and your printing of lecture notes.  Accommodation and meals in Melbourne can be arranged at a modest charge. 


Included in the training fees are:

  • Theoretical and practical tuition in equine dentistry.
  • Two text books and course study notes for personal use.
  • Reasonable support and advice for your practice for the first 12 months.


Some of the AEDP views and observations:

  • Good work practices avoid the use of drugs and tranquillizers but when they are necessary they must be administered by a veterinary surgeon.  Many 'dentists' routinely sedate many horses because of the agressive methods used.   The use of drugs other than by veterinary surgeon or under direct instruction from a veterinary surgeon is illegal in virtually every country of the world.
  • Filing is a delicate matter and too much filing may cause the horse to: spill feed when trying to chew, wash out its mouth in water and excrete an excessive quantity of whole fibre and oats in the manure.  These factors have the potential to cause weight loss.
  • Removing material off the molars by filing can diminish the horse's chewing ability.  For example, one tooth completely smoothened on the left and the right molar arcade such as done by some to create a bit seat, means the loss of more than 15% of the total feed grinding surface of the horse.
  • The 'bit seat' concept is not supported by this practice as this implies the bit is seated on the teeth, where it should not be.  Proponents of this treatment will file the first bottom molar teeth down to the gumline.  This may lead to:
    • Exposure of pulp chambers in the teeth.
    • Loss of essential dental material for grinding the feed (see previous paragraph)
    • Encouraging the horse to clench and grind the bit at will as the bit can be easily pulled between the teeth by the rider or driver.  This can make the horse a 'puller' which who not responsive to the bit. It is important that the bit rests in front of the first lower molars which ensures the horse will be much more responsive to the bit and therefore the rider.  Injury will be prevented and the horse will be very comfortable if the corners of these molars are moderately rounded by the dentist.

  • The Australian Equine Dental Practice considers methods such as cutting any teeth with forceps unacceptable due to the risk of causing longitudinal fractures in the teeth.  Using power grinders to grind down the first molar teeth is not necessary.  Substantial grinding of teeth without application of a cooling medium may cause teeth to overheat which may result in the loss of the tooth.  The impact of burrs may cause small fractures of the teeth.  Experienced dentists can accomplish most reductions by manual filing without causing excessive discomfort or trauma to the unsedated horse.
  • The cutting or grinding down of the incisors in horses with a normal molar bite is incorrect as nature itself adjusts their level provided molars are not excessively filed; exceptions are the treatment of incisor shearmouth, correction required due to absent incisors and a limited number of other conditions.

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