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Equine Dental Care and Conditions

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 10:37 AM
Equine Dental Care and Conditions

The Best For Your HorseDentistry is much more than filing down sharp points on the teeth. A good equine dental practitioner must be able to recognize not only the big things, but also the minute details that may indicate some other problem. This is the foundation of Natural Balance Dentistry.
hunt seat type horse

















Causes of Dental ProblemsMany factors influence dental pathology such as age, feed, the natural cycle of tooth growth and wear, congenital problems, breed and trauma to name a few. Unfortunately another major factor is improper maintenance and aggressive structural changes made by power floating.

Routine Care And MaintenanceDentistry is often the most overlooked health practice we can provide for our horses.  A common misconception is that if a horse is not showing any of the outward symptoms, it does not require dentistry. Yet it can be the simplest, and most affordable step to improve health,  maintain well being and even extend life. On the other hand, poorly done or neglected equine dentistry contributes to pain, lameness, poor nutrition and leads to neurological imbalance with a host of negative ramifications. Every horse deserves a complete dental exam on a regular basis.  Most equine dentistry involves prevention. If your horse's teeth are regularly cared for, the maintenance process will not be overwhelming and you should be able to avoid most dental or health complications. Each horse is an individual, and Natural Balance Dentistry considers the whole horse and all of its environmental factors in developing a maintenance plan.


terrible incisor picture

Symptoms of Dental Problems
  • Abnormal change in behavior (dropping food, head tilting, excessive salivation)
  • Refusing certain types of food
  • Refusing food completely
  • Eating slowly
  • A bad odor from the mouth
  • Quidding (rolling hay into balls then dropping them)
  • Head shaking
  • Loss of weight / condition
  • Signs of colic
  • Packing food into the cheeks

  • Food / hay being passed through in droppings
  • inability or refusal to maintain headset
  • difficulty if taking one lead or another
  • imbalances in hoof that proper
  • trimming cannot correct
  • poor topline
  • sunken hips
  • difficulty in collection
  • dragging rear toes
  • upside down or U neck
  • cracks in hooves that cannot be corrected by balanced trims
  • short striding
  • Tilting the head while being ridden
  • Unable to ride in an outline / on the bit / slow to make transitions
  • Pushes head deeply into feed as if trying to fill its mouth while eating
  • Poor attitude, bad behavior
  • Chewing or grinding on the bit

The Danger of Power FloatingPower floatingcreates an artificial pathology in the horse’s mouth. One that proprioceptively, the body can not handle, and the changes effect the whole body. A lot of practitioners and horse owners do not recognize this as an issue. Traditional horse dentist often go straight to the obvious sharp points and aggressively and quickly grind them down. This methodology ignores the subtle and causal problems of balance, uneven wear, and often results in compounding problems.
The view of Natural Balance Dentistry is that these aggressive methods of reshaping the pathology are excessive, stressful and unnecessary. Their use can be counter productive, and can mask the real underlying problems. Look how un-natural the horses head is and how can the power floater know how much tooth was removed. As well as how hot the power float gets while grinding away the surface/crown of the tooth. That is if the horse has any crown left after power floating is done. The power float can cause a smooth surface like an outer glass affect to the tooth leaving the horse to chew with rubber hose like surfaces. The Horse is a herbivore which mean they need cutting edges to cut and grind there bolus. 
Think about you going to the dentist and having water cooled and air cooled instruments being used in your mouth then think of the horse whom just has a power float running at so many RPMs that isn't air cooled or water cooled.  Thermal damage can happen. Remember if over adjustment is made it takes years for the tooth to gain eruption again. There is no quick fixing/balancing your horses mouth until the horse gets tooth to work with again. This can take years sometimes.

floating Teeth with power




Categories: Equine Dentistry

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753 Comments

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