By ANNE LINDBERG

PINELLAS PARK

The whirring sound of the drill and the acrid smell of a tooth being ground are common in dentist offices. * But this is no ordinary dental clinic. The patient weighs upwards of 1,000 pounds, has a powerful bite and an even meaner kick. The “clinic” is a specially outfitted trailer visiting the horse show grounds at Helen Howarth Park on a recent weekend. * This is the world of modern equine dentistry. Once done by a vet or technician armed with just a handheld metal rasp in a dusty barn, horse dentistry has gone high-tech with electric drills, video cameras and air-conditioned trailers.

Like humans, horses have two sets of teeth during their lives – baby and permanent teeth. Unlike humans, horses’ teeth grow all their lives. Their teeth don’t wear evenly, and sharp edges can form that can cause jaw problems and cut into their cheeks. Difficulty in chewing and pain can cause poor nutrition and behavior problems.

Richard Grist learned to work on horse teeth the old-fashioned way. In his native England 15 years ago, he was taught how to file down the sharp edges with a handheld rasp, but he ventured into power tools as he gained experience.

He began working with veterinarian Jay Clifford in 2005 and they opened Advanced Equine Dentistry in Hudson in 2007

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