Foals should have their mouths examined soon after birth. This will allow for any problems, possibly congenital to be dealt with and noted for future dental care.
Routine dental care normally begins as a yearling, with the removal of wolf teeth, and the floating of sharp edges. After the initial visit, it is recommended that atleast two visits a year be scheduled until five years of age when all the permanent teeth have erupted. After the age of five, the frequency of dental visits are detrermined on an individual basis. usually once or twice a year.
A change in chewing habits is the most obvious sign of dental problems. The horse may dribble feed, soak feed in a water bucket, hold the head to one side when eating, or not eat at all. The horse may "quid" the food, in which the food, particularly hay is rolled into balls rather than being properly masticated. The balls of food are usually dropped on the ground. Rather than chew with a painful mouth the horse may try to swallow before the chewing is complete. This may contribute to choke, colic and indigestion. Other signs of dental trouble include the presence of excess saliva, swelling of the face, halitosis, refusal to eat hard grain or coarse hay, bolting of grain and a loss of condition. In certain cases a horse may limit their intake of water which may result in serious harm to their overall general condition. Many times it is necessary to serve horses with dental discomfort warm water during extreme cold weather. Young and old horses are affected on an individual basis. A horse with dental problems may become very nervous and develop habits such as cribbing and stall weaving. Under saddle a horse may toss his head, lug, rear and generally be unsettled and unwilling to perform correctly and consistently.
You may be able to tell by observing your horse, is he trying to tell you something by his actions ? Is he acting up when bridling or riding ? Is he dropping feed, loosing weight, does he have any visible sores in his mouth, does he chew to one side only ? Horses can not tell their owners how they feel or what it wrong. Often times it is impossible to tell if your horse has dental problems without an examination by a trained equine dental technician.
Many people know how to float a horse's teeth, but this is only part of the job, your horse needs a complete mouth examination by a properly trained equine dental technician.
Equine Dental Technicians attend an intensive training school, which they recieve instruction in anatomy, horse handling, and also hands on experience with horses. After completion of the training, many equine dental technicians work under the supervision of more experienced dental technicians.
Most horses accept and actually tend to enjoy having their teeth floated. Other horses may require some type of restraint. Equine Dental Technicians are trained in gentle restraint methods. Should the horse need additional restraint or require a more difficult procedure your veterinarian will be contacted to administer sedation.
Equine Dental Technicians are not veterinarians and do not carry or administer sedation. If your Equine Dental Technician believes that your horse will require sedation, your veterinarian will be contacted to arrange sedation.
The examination begins when the technician approaches the horse, they observe the body condition, examine the head for any signs of TMJ (Tempro-mandibular joint) the incisors are examined and a full mouth speculum is placed on the horses mouth so the interior of the mouth and molars can be examined.
During th exam the equine dental technician will show you the areas your horse has problems with both visually and by touch.Then they will prepare or discuss an estimate of the work to be done.
Most horses can have all their dental care done in one visit. There are cases when it is necessry to perform the procedures in a step by step procedure over several visits.
Research shows that routine dental care and floating can increase the digestible energy by 20%. in addition studies have shown that a horses teeth will wear and last five to ten years longer with proper maintenance.
The incisors allow the horse to obtain food.
The molars masticate the food for digestion..
The upper teeth are wider than the lower teeth, allowing for a somewhat circular chewing motion, which involves a process known as lateral excursion. This motion allows for the grinding of food stuffs creating sharp edges on the outside (buccal) or cheek edge of the upper teeth and inside (lingual) edge of the lower molars. This causes the teeth to wear through out the horses life. But there is no wear where the teeth make first contact and lift off creating sharp points. Floating a horse removes the sharp points.
In some cases, as a result of injury or abnormal occlusion and wear, the incisors may require care. The incisors should be examined as part of regular dental care.
Wolf Teeth are vestigial teeth. They are normally noted forward of the first cheek tooth in the upper arcade, or lingual (set to the inside) of the first upper cheek toot. Wolf teeth may occur in the lower jaw as well as the upper jaw.
Many wolf teeth interfere with the function of the bit, and therefore should be removed as a part of regular dental care. This should be done at an early age to ensure clean extraction and prevent unnecessary behavioral problems associated with biting pain.
Blind wolf teeth normally lie under the gingiva forward of the first cheek teeth. They are easily palpitated, and do not normally erupt. They may occur in the upper and lower jaw..
We try to keep our rates affordable. The total amount depends on the type of work that your horse requires. For advanced dentistry we try to cap our price to keep the fee reasonable and affordable
We also have a small farm call fee to reach your farm depending on where you live. For more detailed rates contact us for a quote
We have attempted to answer many of the common questions that are asked about equine dental care on this page. If you can not find an answer or have a different question, please contact us and we will answer it.
Still have questions? Please contact us anytime! We look forward to hearing from you.