Why Certify?

IAED Certification gives horse owners confidence their equine dental service provider has benchmarked and tested skills, proven via our anonymous assessment platform.

Professionally, it gives Equine Dental Practitioners a tangible skill level, able to be maintained and honed through our framework of ongoing educational opportunities in the years ahead.

IAED Certification General Guideline And Policies

The IAED offers a neutral testing ground for members to have their equine dental skills evaluated according to the IAED Standard. All IAED Certification Standards are based on scientific research published in peer-reviewed journals worldwide.

IAED Certification Expectations

Certification candidates are tested on the following areas of proficiency

Gross Head Anatomy – identification, location, and function of

  • Bones
  • Muscles
  • Arteries
  • Veins
  • Nerves
  • Salivary glands
  • Tooth Structure
  • Principals of Mastication
  • Terminology
  • Aging
  • Dental Prophylaxis

IAED Certification Candidate is expected to identify the dental malocclusions.

The candidate must pass the written exam with 80% or higher prior to attempting the practical exam. Each candidate will have the opportunity to perform supervised dental procedures on a pre-screened testing horse.

Two IAED Examiners will evaluate the work independently and their scores combined. To pass the candidate must score 80% or higher.

To maintain IAED Certification, members are required to keep their membership current and complete at least 24 hours of Continuing Education every 2 years.

IAED Certification General Policy

  • To be a candidate for IAED Certification you must be an IAED member in good standing
  • The IAED Certification Candidate must not have a pending grievance
  • IAED Certification Candidates must meet all prerequisite requirements
  • IAED Certification will require that candidates successfully complete an IAED written examination as set out by the IAED Board prior to attempting the IAED practical examination
  • IAED Certification will require that candidates successfully complete an IAED Practical
  • Examination as set out by the IAED Board
  • Both the written and practical parts of the IAED Certification Examination must be passed by 80% or better to receive IAED Certification

IAED Candidate Requirement Policy:

  • Candidates must be a graduate of a formal equine dental education program with at least 240 hours of education
  • Candidates that have attended a Veterinary School must have 80 hours designated for equine dental education
  • Recommendation to have a signature of an IAED Certified Member who will testify to the candidate’s ability

IAED Policy Requirements for Formal Equine Dental Education Programs:

For the purpose of IAED Certification “Formal Education” and “Graduate” is defined in the following: Formal learning (education and/or training in a formal setting) is always organized, and structured and has learning objectives, with the explicit objective of the student/learner to gain knowledge, skills and/or competences.

The Equine Dental Education Program Curriculum must:

  • Be detailed
  • Be organized and structured
  • Follow a planned course of study
  • Define the philosophy of the program with learning objectives
  • Define the student/learner’s explicit objectives to gain knowledge, skill, and competence.

The Equine Dental Education Program Syllabus must be detailed with time frames and hours of attendance requirements to include:

  • Lecture – topics
  • Tutorials
  • Private study requirements – list of reference study publications, books, etc.
  • Hands-on/wet labs. The student/learner must be evaluated throughout the program to monitor progress and competence to continue to the next component of the course.

For IAED Certification requirements the Equine Dental Education Program GRADUATE(student/learner) must complete the course of study and training components successfully and receive a document that is proof of successful completion.

THE IAED Standard December 2019

IAED Standards & Expectations Requirements of Maintenance and Rehabilitation of the Dental Arcades (This standard is a functional working document and is subject to change without notice)

A. Incisors (follow anatomical guidelines)

  1. The incisors should not prevent or interfere with the lateral excursion or rostral-caudal movement of the mandible.
  2. The incisors should not displace the mandible from a neutral position.
  3. The incisor length should not prevent functional cheek teeth occlusion.
  4. The incisor table angle should be directed toward or near the TMJ. (see anatomical guidelines)

B. Canines (follow anatomical guidelines)

  1. It is expected that the canine will be buffed and rounded.

C. Wolf Teeth

  1. Wolf teeth are to be extracted. (During testing with approval of the steward and certification veterinarian only.)

D. Rostral Profiling of #6 cheek teeth, i.e. Bit Seats (Follow anatomical guidelines)

  1. Rostral profiling of the #6 cheek teeth must not compromise the integrity of the tooth. Ideally, there should be minimal loss of functional Occlusal surface.
  2. The finished bit seat should be smooth.

E. Cheek Teeth (Follow anatomical guidelines)

  1. Remove sharp points that may abrade soft tissue.
  2. Establish, restore or maintain optimally functional cheek teeth arcades by relieving malocclusions, while preserving maximum occlusal surface.
  3. Functional table angles should be restored and/or maintained.
  4. After equilibration of the cheek teeth arcades, the LETS (lateral excursion to strike, measured in millimeters) should be the same or less but greater than 0mm. (See exceptions in anatomical guidelines.)

F. Removal of Teeth

  1. Removal of teeth and fragments of teeth should be done in accordance with the AG in a humane and professional manner. (During IAED Testing removal of retained fragments, permanent teeth, and deciduous teeth should be discussed with the Steward and approved by the Certification Veterinarian prior to their removal.)

G. Malformations and Pre-Existing Conditions of the Teeth & Oral Cavity

Note: When present, these conditions, and others, should be noted on the dental chart and treated in accordance with the AG. (During IAED Testing possible treatment is discussed with the attending veterinarian.)
a. Malformed teeth
b. Periodontal disease
c. Decay
d. Openings in the occlusal surface, i.e., open pulp chambers, etc.
e. Buccal and or lingual lesions
f. Damaged bars, damaged tongue
g. Fractured teeth
h. Bone spurs

Anatomical Guidelines

The purpose of this supporting document is to define parameters within which equine dentistry can be performed. While the practical exam will test a basic standard of care, it must be remembered that dentistry combines both the arts and sciences. To be performed at a high level, the practitioner must have a solid understanding of the hypsodont anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, and pathology combined with a knowledge of instrumentation and practical skills.

The goal of equilibration is to distribute the pressure and wear of mastication onto as many viable teeth as possible in order to maximize the longevity and integrity of the equine dentition. The reduction of ONLY the protuberant teeth allows the opposing excessively worn tooth room to erupt so that over time the amount of reserve crown is as symmetrical as possible for respective teeth. This will ensure an approximately even rate of wear on the respective teeth thus extending the viability and longevity of the dentition. During the process of equilibration, it is assumed that the sharp buccal and lingual points will be removed WITHOUT a functional loss of the occlusal surface.

During the practical exam, the candidate must demonstrate that he/she understands all the anatomical landmarks and variations that must be considered for each animal. This will be documented through charting of the horse following a thorough oral exam. Abnormal pathology must be completely documented. The horse should be given regular breaks with a complete closing of the speculum at about 5-minute intervals. The mouth should remain closed for at least 10-15 seconds and be rinsed during breaks.


  • The incisors should be carefully evaluated prior to placement of the speculum.
  • When dental work is completed, the incisors should not be placing lateral pressure on the mandible.
  • The incisors should be in contact with as many viable teeth as possible. It is understood that incisors that have been excessively worn may be left out of occlusion following the reduction of the protuberant opposing incisor. However, in cases where the incisors are well aligned, the pressure should be distributed onto as many teeth as possible.
  • Candidate must use the color of the secondary dentin to determine how much to reduce protuberant teeth.
  • For the purpose of the exam, the secondary dentin should maintain some brown coloration and not be taken so far that white dentin is visible.
  • Exposure of any pink material reflecting live pulp will result in automatic failure.
  • The incisors should feel free of mechanical restrictions during a lateral excursion.
  • Incisor table angles should not be so steep that the rostral movement of the mandible is restricted. The incisor table angles should be close to aligning with the TMJ.
  • Large reductions of ALL the incisors should NOT be performed. If a diagonal bite is present, it is expected that candidate will realign the bite as much as possible WITHOUT reducing the protuberant teeth so much that the secondary dentin remaining is white. Light brown secondary dentin should be used as the gauge for when to stop reduction.
  • Complete flattening of the incisor table angle is not acceptable.
  • During the equilibration of incisors, an adequate technique must be used to prevent excessive heat generation.
  • Any abnormal pathology such as EOTRH, necrotic pulp horns, fractures, periodontal disease, etc. must be thoroughly documented on the chart – if present, these must also be brought to the attention of the attending veterinarian.


  • The canines should be smooth and rounded but not overly reduced.
  • Pulp exposure will result in automatic failure.
  • Any tartar present should be removed.
  • The presence of gingivitis should be charted accordingly.
  • Blind canines should be well documented on the chart.
  • Any abnormal pathology such as EOTRH, necrotic pulp horns, fractures, periodontal disease, etc. must be thoroughly documented on the chart – if present, these must also be brought to the attention of the attending veterinarian.

Wolf Teeth:

  • Wolf teeth are to be extracted. (During testing with approval of the steward and certification veterinarian only.)

Cheek Teeth:

  • The occlusal surface should have as much width as possible without being sharp.
  • The buccal and palatal/lingual margins should not be beveled at a 45-degree angle resulting in a significant loss of mastication surface.
  • The tooth opposing a protuberant tooth should always have a natural (i.e. rough) occlusal surface. Only the protuberant tooth may be reduced, and not the compromised opposing tooth.
  • Rostral profiling of the #6 teeth should only smooth the rostral aspect of the teeth while removing minimal occlusal surface. The rostral margins should be uniform and smooth.
  • Proper technique must be used so that no iatrogenic soft tissue damage occurs within the oral cavity.
  • Proper techniques and instruments must be used to minimize heat production from handpieces. This means using a precise approach to reducing protuberances and only working on the smallest surface area possible to obtain the desired reduction. Instruments must be sharp and in good/safe working conditions.
  • When reducing large protuberances, the candidate should continually assess the color of the secondary dentin of all pulp horns and make sure that some brown coloration is maintained throughout the procedure. No teeth should be reduced so much that only white secondary dentin is seen. Any pink coloration on any pulp horn will result in automatic failure.
  • Any abnormal pathology such as necrotic open pulp horns, fractures, periodontal disease, infundibular caries, peripheral cemental caries, masses, etc. must be thoroughly documented on the chart – if present, these must also be brought to the attention of the attending veterinarian.
  • The occlusal surfaces should be balanced to the extent possible, but they should not be smooth! Only protuberant areas should be reduced!
  • Exam horses will be screened to ensure that they have fairly uniform table angles (no shear mouths), therefore candidates should only do minimal adjustments to table angles – if any. There may be cases where a few teeth require an angle adjustment, but as a whole, the table angles should be respected and maintained at all times. They should remain uniform and consistent.
  • During equilibration, the candidate must not eliminate the Curvature of Spee.
  • When the speculum is removed and the cheek teeth come together, the paired quadrants (100/400 and 200/300) should have simultaneous occlusion of as many viable cheek teeth as possible.
  • Primary tooth strike is a single tooth or area of the tooth causing separation of arcades for more than half of the “in occlusion excursion”.
  • A secondary tooth strike is a single tooth or area of the tooth causing separation of arcades for less than half of the “in occlusion excursion”.
  • “In occlusion excursion” for the purpose of testing is measured from the first point of contact during an excursion through to the point at which the most lateral point of the upper arcade is vertical to the lateral edge of the opposing arcade.
  • The lateral excursion should be free and unrestricted.
  • Compromised teeth that were excessively worn from protuberances may remain out of occlusion during a lateral excursion.
  • Transitions of malocclusions should be blended to allow for rostral/caudal movement of the mandible during mastication.
  • Incisor reductions resulting in 0mm LETS (i.e. 100% occlusion) of cheek teeth should NOT be performed. Only mild angle changes or realignments of the incisors are necessary if the candidate ONLY reduces the PROTUBERANT cheek teeth.
  • The cheek teeth should have enough occlusion that some separation of the incisors occurs during the lateral excursion – the only exception would be cases where very poor cheek teeth occlusion is present prior to equilibration. If this happens, the candidate must carefully document the poor occlusion PRIOR to equilibration and use that as a limiting step for how much work can be performed on the cheek teeth.