What is Floating?
Floating a horses teeth is done with a rasp or a "float". By using a float, sharp enamel points are removed. Also, corrections are made to malocclusions, re-balancing the dental arcades and correcting other dental problems, along with an examination.
How often should I have my horse's teeth floated?
Horses under the age of 5 should be floated every 6 months. There are changes going on in the horses mouth, including Deciduous teeth (Caps, Baby Teeth) that are being shed. Foals should be examined shortly after birth to diagnose and correct congenital dental problems. Yearlings have been found to have enamel points sharp enough to cause damage to the cheeks and tongue. Horses going into training for the first time (especially 2 and 3 year olds) need a comprehensive dental check up. Teeth should be floated to remove any sharp points and they should be checked for any retained caps. Horses over 5 years of age and under 20 years of age can be floated once a year, unless you observe or suspect any problems. Horses over 20 years of age should be examined every 6 months. As the horse gets older I check for common problems including loose teeth, fractures and periodontal disease.
What are some signs that my horse needs it's teeth floated?
Some signs that your horse may need to be floated are: when your horse is dropping food or you may even notice weight loss. Another sign is called "quidding" this is when your horse packs balls of hay and grass into its cheeks. Your horse does this to put a barrier between its cheeks, tongue and the sharp enamel points irritating its mouth. You may notice balls of hay in your horses stall or puffy cheeks on your horses face. You may also notice, difficulty chewing, undigested food particles in your horses manure, excessive bit chewing and head tossing, difficulty riding or being on a line. You may also notice a foul odor coming from your horses mouth, nasal discharge or swelling in the face, jaw or mouth tissue.
What are the benefits of routine dental care?
Proper dental care is very beneficial to you and your horse. Your horse will be more comfortable, will utilize food more efficiently, may perform better and may even live a longer life.
What are Wolf Teeth?
Wolf teeth are vestigial first premolars. They are commonly found just in front of the first molar in the upper and occasionally the lower jaw. They can be erupted through the gum tissue or an unerupted "blind wolf tooth" which has not erupted through the gum tissue.
Why do we remove wolf teeth?
Wolf teeth often interfere with the function of the bit. They can cause pain in the horses mouth when the bit bumps into them or cause pinching of cheek tissue between the bit and the tooth. In some cases small, non-interfering wolf teeth are not removed. An examination of your horse, along with your input on how your horse performs, will determine if the wolf tooth needs to be removed.
What are Bit Seats?
Bit seats are created by an Equine Dental Tech or a Veterinarian. The upper molar that the bit sits in front of is rolled on the front edge up towards the gum line. The lower molar is rolled towards the lower gum line. This provides an area for the bit to sit comfortably in the horses mouth. This does not hurt the horse or cause any problems with chewing food.
Does floating my horses teeth hurt my horse?
No, If done correctly most horses allow the work and some even enjoy it. The nerve is low enough in the tooth that removing enamel points and making appropriate corrections will not cause pain to the horse.