AAEP updates dentistry position

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The American Association of Equine Practitioners' board of directors has approved a revised position on equine dentistry.

The new position statement was prepared by the AAEP Equine Dentistry Committee and clarifies the educational requirements necessary to conduct equine dentistry. The statement specifies that only licensed veterinarians, and under some circumstances, licensed veterinary technicians under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian, should practice equine dentistry.

Dr. Lowell Smalley, the chair of the Equine Dentistry Committee, said the new statement is designed to protect consumers.

"If there is not a formal education and licensure process, the public is not protected," Dr. Smalley said.

The new statement is as follows:

The practice of equine dentistry is an integral branch of equine veterinary medicine. This discipline encompasses all aspects of diagnosis, treatment, and prophylaxis of any and all equine dental conditions and diseases that affect the oral cavity, mandible and maxilla, teeth and associated structures. As such, it falls within the purview of veterinary medicine.

Any surgical procedure of the head or oral cavity; the administration or prescription of sedatives, tranquilizers, analgesics or anesthetics; procedures which are invasive of the tissues to the oral cavity including, but not limited to, removal of sharp enamel projections, treatment of malocclusions of premolars, molars, and incisors, reshaping of canine teeth, the extraction of the first premolars and deciduous premolars and incisors; treatment, extraction or repair of damaged or diseased teeth; periodontal treatment; and dental radiography are veterinary medical procedures and should be performed by a licensed veterinarian.

In states where the Veterinary Practice Act allows, the AAEP supports the use of licensed veterinary technicians under the employ and supervision of licensed veterinarians for specific and appropriate veterinary dental procedures as enumerated in that state's practice act.