CHOOSING A QUALITY EQUINE DENTIST
Choosing an equine dentist for your horse is one of the most important decisions you will make for your horse's well being. Correct maintenance at the right intervals can prolong your horse's productivity and longevity by up to ten years, while considerably improving its performance. You should consider choosing your horse dentist in a systematic and educated manner to ensure that you will obtain the services of a dentist who will best fit yours and your horse's needs. An investigation of the potential equine dentist's BACKGROUND, educational qualifications, experience, professional association membership, personal attributes and ethics will help you to make the right decision.
BACKGROUND AND EDUCATION
Begin by asking a potential equine dentist how he/she learned this profession. A proper and complete dental education is the key to becoming an accomplished professional. Many attended schools to increase their knowledge and skills. Such schools should cover areas of knowledge which are difficult to learn in the field, such as anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, dental function, business practice and professional conduct. Short lectures, weekend courses, and "monkey see-monkey do" sessions may not be adequate experience for your needs. Ask to see their education certificates.
One excellent source of reference is from the horse owners who have horses similar to yours in breed and usage. Ask questions about the improvements in behaviour, performance and condition of their horses after they have been treated by the equine dentist that they use, this should give you a good indication of the ability of this dentist. Some horse owners are satisfied with a person who is inexpensive, or is a friend or a nice person rather than looking for someone who exhibits skill and a sound knowledge of their profession. The use of only price and availability as a guideline may lead to unsatisfactory work, and is best avoided.
Continuing education is an important factor in determining whether a person is a professional. In all professions, individuals are constantly upgrading their knowledge and skills. It is no different in the equine dental profession.Knowledge is to be shared, for the benefit of both you (the client) and your horse (most important). The highest standard of equine dentistry in the world today is practised by members of the World-wide Association of Equine Dentistry Inc. If possible, choosing a member of this association should be your aim. Otherwise there may exist other associations, whose members have a standard of practice and criteria, to attend to your needs.
Your chosen dentist should be able to perform the following: balance mouth,set-up anatomical geometry, float molars and incisors, remove loose or retained deciduous teeth, remove wolf teeth, age horse, recognise injuries, advise on bitting, recognise and treat advanced dental problems, demonstrate a sound knowledge of horse head anatomy, proper use of safe non destructive instruments, and know when to seek the expertise of other qualified professionals.
In addition to the professional knowledge and skill needed to perform satisfactory work, you must feel confident that your dentist can do the work to your satisfaction and in a manner that is acceptable to you. The following questions are important to answer before you make your choice; How does the potential dentist treat the client? Does he/she always treat you and your horse with respect and consideration? Is your dentist willing to answer questions and share knowledge and skill with you so that you can be aware of problems as they occur? Does he/she keep records so as to give better customer service? And gather statistics for ongoing treatments and further educational knowledge.
If you want to obtain and keep a professional equine dentist, there are some obligations that you have as well.The equine dentist's time is valuable. You should have your horse/s caught and ready, have a clean and safe working area set aside, warn your dentist of difficult, unsafe horses. You should also be prepared to pay for the service when it is received. The survival of your chosen dentist depends on their ability to earn enough to cover costs of doing business and make a living.
Proper dental maintenance can alleviate most of your horses dental problems, improve it's performance, condition, and eliminate pain and trauma. You can count on your chosen professional equine dentist to help you and your horse perform at your best.
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