Dougie has to have his teeth done every 6 months because he is under the age of 6.
Thats funny cause my dentist only tells me he "needs" to come out once a year. He's certified and went to school. I've only herd of a dentist coming out more if the horse was older or there were corrective issues. I guess everyone has a different opinion. I don't get my vet to do dental work, he's not as trained as a certified dentist is. To me its almost the same as having a vet do your farrier work, sure he can do it, but its not his primary function. Ill have him look the horses teeth over for problems, but I don't get him to actually float them, even thought its about half the cost.
My vet comes out a few times a year. Five times last year, once for my mares shots/coggins, once for x-rays for my mare, once to look over my new weanling, once to check out the little guy for worms, and once to start his shots. The most expensive visit was for x-ray and flexion and blocking on my mare with navicular. That I got a specialized lameness vet for, I didnt use my regular vet. They had more advanced radiographing, it was digital, so they gave me a more acurate diagnosis of her problem. I use an inexpensive vet for shots and I use the "experts" for emergency/diagnosis type things. The emergency vet costs twice as much, but in some situation I'd rather have them out.
You should only really need a vet once to twice a year for shots and the like. Your friends who say it expensive probably have out of the ordinary issues, or are paying expensive farm calls. Or maybe just has a skewed idea of how much a vet visit should cost. I got a $200 farm call once, I think it was on easter or something, but sometimes you can't put it off. My horse had a swollen eye lid and possible eye trauma. I've had alot of emergency visits for my animals over the years, and Im not shocked to see a $500+ bill anymore. (My cat was 2k+.)