Equine Dental Technician (EDT) can perform routine checks and rasping (but not extractions or more complicated procedures which must be carried out by a vet). The conformation of the horse’s jaw, or problems with their teeth, could lead to many welfare and performance issues so appropriate dental care from a suitably qualified EDT or equine vet is absolutely crucial as part of routine care.
To be an EDT, you'll need to be patient around horses as, like us, not a lot of horses like having their teeth checked! You will also need good communication skills and be able to communicate effectively to horse owners. Being an EDT is an extremely physically demanding career and you'll be working outdoors in all weather, so a good level of physical fitness is required. This is not a career for the squeamish!
How to become an EDT
There are two BEVA-recommended routes to becoming an EDT in the UK:
- Becoming a member of the British Association of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT)
- Becoming a category 2 member of the World Wide Association of Equine Dentists (WWAED)
Both of these routes ensure technicians have undergone approved examinations to attain their qualifications. The BAEDT offers student memberships and guidance on appropriate training.
BAEDT members are those who have passed the exam, have maintained continuing professional development, carry the required malpractice insurance and are accountable through a disciplinary process.
In order to sit the BEVA/BVDA dental examination, students are required to provide a case log of over 300 dental cases, including 40 advanced cases and have completed a minimum of five full days working under supervision with a qualified EDT or vet who performs a high amount of equine dental work. You are also required to provide two references, one of which must be from an MRCVS.
Experience and confidence handling horses will be an advantage before you begin your training. The BHS Groom Pathway will provide you with the skills and knowledge to handle horses confidently. It will also introduce anatomy and physiology and horse behaviour; an essential foundation for any EDT.
- Be your own boss! Many EDTs are self-employed and run their own business, with the autonomy to create the right work life balance
- There are opportunities for EDTs to support international equine welfare charities, treat horses in other countries and educate owners to improve horse welfare standards
- Variety! No two days are the same and there are opportunities to work with a veterinary team and a large variety of horse owners, horses and vets in different environments.
Hear from equine dental technician Stephen Welsh
"By law there is no requirement for any training, qualifications or experience to carry out routine dental care, with hand rasps! A shock and wrong, but that’s the truth.
However, I hold the BEVA/BVDA Qualification and am a member of The British Association of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT). While I was serving in The Household Cavalry, I gained my BHS AI (this is now the BHSQ Level 3 Complete Horsemanship), which was my first step on the equine career ladder. I am a self-employed EDT, with my practice based in Warwickshire. I treat all manner of equines, from multimillion-pound racehorses to pet donkeys.
I would suggest that anyone wishing to pursue a career in this field does an apprenticeship with a BAEDT member. There are also great introduction courses run by BAEDT and various schools in America. As a member of the BAEDT we are constantly carrying out CPD in many fields in the equine world.
I have found my BHS qualification to be an important grounding when handling horses. This has proved invaluable in my current career as an Equine Dental Technician (EDT)."