AAEP board revises position statement on dentistry


The AAEP supports the use of licensed technicians for some dental procedures.

LEXINGTON, KY.—The board of directors of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) approved a revised organizational position statement on equine dentistry.

The organization endorses licensed technicians to perform specific dental procedures under proper supervision.

"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," the new position asserts.

"Any surgical procedure of the head or oral cavity; the administration or prescription of sedatives, tranquilizers, analgesics or anesthetics; procedures that 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 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."

Dr. Lowell Smalley of Omaha, Neb., is chairman of the Equine Dentistry Committee, which prepared the revised statement. The committee's charge is to investigate and oversee a mechanism for ongoing training in equine dentistry for both veterinarians and technicians; to encourage AAEP members interested in dentistry to pursue certification in recognized programs and to work toward a standardization of equine dental nomenclature.

AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its more than 8,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

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