Social Dental Network

A Horse Walks Into a Dental Office…

In Dental Humor - Oxymoron? on June 7, 2011 at 4:30 AM

Dentists get a bad rap, plain and simple. When it comes to maintaining our optimal health we think of a properly balanced diet, a regular exercise regimen, and minimum indulgence in all things contradictory to that end.


You can’t argue with results, and keeping our regular dental appointments does yield results. Rarely do we make the connection between optimal health, and going to the dentist.

But the facts are in; keeping up our regular dental appointments is one essential ingredient in attaining and maintaining optimal health and wellness.

Who’d a thunk the same holds true for horses; wouldn’t mass quantities of hay, vegetables, water, and a salt lick do the trick?

Not so according to Ernie Kilby. What follows is an American success story right out of Dateline NBC, or 48Hours, or 20/20…or whatever major network news slash entertainment come current events production du jour you favor.

As the York Daily Record article on Equine Dentistry points out; for 30 years Kilby raised his family, cared for his handful of horses, and worked various supervising jobs in manufacturing. Then at age 52 he found himself out of work with minimal prospects.

He suffered through bouts of questioning his self-worth, worked his fingers to the bone, and finally decided to finance his equine dentistry training by mowing lawns and doing odd jobs around the neighborhood.

Although it was slow going at first, his commitment remained unflappable. He has a gift, and now Kilby has corralled his son-in-law into the business to lend a hand.

As the article goes on to mention, Kilby has an innate talent for dealing with horses.

We figured we could use that opportunity to draw some awfully thin correlations between equine dentistry and our walk on two legs kind. Read on, this is a direct excerpt from the York Daily Record article:

For as long as he can remember, he’s been able to reach horses in a way that stuns onlookers. Unapproachable stallions, looking as if they might kick their way through a wall, are disarmed by his presence.

He tries to explain it but can’t quite.

“The main point is he cares. A lot of dentists will come in and think it’s just a job and don’t really care,” said Star Lawson of Rushing Winds Farm.

“I just think he can speak to them. He has a more relaxed atmosphere with them. He pets the horses, he touches them, he kind of gets to know them.”

Are you picking up what we’re putting down?

The moral of this lead a horse to the dentist story is this; if our dentists take an active role as a partner in maintaining our overall health, we need to throw them a carrot once in a while!

Talk to your dentist, get to know them, and if they go above and beyond the call of duty – let them know about it. In this everyone connected world, a kind word still goes a long way.

And an online review, comment on Facebook, or website testimonial all represent an enduring opportunity to extend a carrot to our superstar dentists. If you think your tooth jockey is a dental derby favorite, let them know!

According to, there are probably fewer than 50 equine dentists in Pennsylvania. Kilby and his partner, son-in-law Doug Siegrist, are two of only about 150 dentists anywhere certified by the International Association of Equine Dentistry.

To hear it from the horse’s mouth, click the link to watch Kilby’s interview on equine dentistry.

Check back often for the next installment of domesticated dentistry, our next focus is the ubiquitous Canis Majoris

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