Routine dental care is essential to your horse's health. Dental floating will allow your horse to utilize feed more efficiently, become more comfortable in the bit and bridle, and it will limit many diseases that result from poor dentition. We recommend a dental exam once or twice a year depending on the condition of your horse's mouth.
Recognizing Common Dental Problems
Listed are common dental problems recognized by most owners. Some horses may not show any noticeable discomfort and the problem may only be discovered upon examination by a veterinarian.
1. Sharp enamel points forming on the cheek teeth, causing lacerations of cheeks and tongue
2. Discomfort caused by the bit contact with the wolf teeth
3. Retained caps (baby teeth covering over adult molars that are not shed)
4. Long and sharp bridle or canine teeth (more common in male horses)
5. Hooks on upper and lower teeth
6. Loosing or dropping grain while eating. Sometimes the horse may twist his head and neck while eating to accommodate sharp teeth.
7. Lost teeth and broken teeth - you may notice odor in the mouth of your horse or even weight loss due to lack of teeth.
8. Abnormally worn teeth, excessively worn teeth, infected teeth with nasal drainage or swelling, misalignment of teeth.
SYMPTOMS OF DENTAL PROBLEMS
Typical signs that your horse is having dental problems may include: loss of feed from the mouth while eating, loss of weight and body condition, undigested feed in the manure, head-tilting or tossing, bit-chewing or fighting the bit, poor performance including failing to "take the bit" or stop on bit pressure, foul odor from the mouth or nostrils, and finally, nasal discharge especially from one nostril.
FLOATING TEETH AND DENTAL EXAMS
In the wild, the horse travels 10-20 miles per day. During this daily journey, the horse will consume soil and plant particles that will help to keep the mouth in alignment and the teeth worn without points. Unfortunately, no matter how well that we take care of our horses, we cannot provide them with all of the feedstuffs that they require to keep the teeth in proper alignment. Grazing helps! The more that you graze your horse on pasture, the more "natural wear" will occur in your horse's mouth. Horses that spend most of the day stabled in a stall may require more than one dental exam/float in a year.
Dental exams are the most important technique to determine the over-all health of your horse's mouth. We use a speculum to open the mouth and a bright light to view to the back of the mouth. During our exam, we will look for any lesions or tumors in your horse's mouth, assess the wear, shape, and eruption of the teeth, and we will evaluate the lips, tongue and cheeks as well. Your horse is never too young or old for a dental exam and we encourage you to schedule your horse's first dental exam by one year of age. We welcome your questions during the exam and are thrilled to involve you in your horse's dental exam.
Dental floating involves filing down the points and sharp edges of the teeth, re-aligning or restoring the teeth to it's natural state of attrition, and making the mouth more comfortable for your horse to eat, chew, and perform with a bridle and bit. We use power tools to accomplish our dental float on your horse. A light sedative is given to your horse so that he or she will be comfortable with the dental exam and float. Horses are awake and standing during the procedure even under sedation. The cost of dental exams and floats vary depending on the amount of dental work required to align your horses's mouth.
Base rate for IV sedation is $55 and the cost of the basic exam and dental float is $135.
Tooth extraction and additional dental work may raise the final cost. We guarantee our work and are happy to let you "examine" and feel inside of your horse's mouth. We offer dentistry in our Equine Wellness Program and this may afford the most economical savings for your horse.
Call us to schedule your horse's dental exam and float!