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Amanda Church's Performance Horse Services Complete Equine Dental Care
Basic Health Float- Usually does not require sedation. This procedure uses hand files or "floats" to file off the sharp edges of the molars and premolars of the upper and lower jaws. The procedure enables the horse to be more comfortable eating and prevents sores from developing in the mouth. Basic floating is usually sufficient for pleasure and companion horses. Floating should be done at 6 month intervals for horses under 10 years of age and should start as yearlings. As the horse gets older the teeth erupt at a slower rate and yearly floating is sufficient as long as there are no abnoramlities.
Performance Float- Same as basic health float but pays more attention to balance of the mouth and how the bit sits in the mouth. Hooks and ramps are completely removed. The teeth closest to where the bit lies are shaped so that the bit sits more comfortably in the mouth and so there is enough room for cheek and tongue tissue around the bit. Incisors are examined and TMJ syndrome is diagnosed. Horses that are in competition or ridden heavily benefit greatly from a performance float. Sedation is sometimes required if power equipment is needed.
Extractions- Teeth are pulled from the inside of the mouth. Deciduous or "baby" teeth are often pulled with out sedation. They may need to be pulled to prevent gaps between adult teeth and so that the adult teeth come in straight. If they are left in they cause many problems later. Wolf teeth are vestigial teeth that often lie in the bit area and interfer with the bit. They can be removed when the horse is a yearling or later. It is often recommended that wolf teeth are removed before the horse is bitted. Moderate sedation is required to remove wolf teeth. Infected teeth are also removed as needed. Sedation varies with infected teeth.
Corrective Work- Often done with a special Dremel tool requires heavy monitored sedation due to the vibration and noise involved. The inscisors are usually the most common teeth to be corrected. They become overlong due to soft grasses and hay. The result is reduced molar contact. The most common sign that an incisor reduction is needed is the horse chews with an open mouth. Bit seats and waves are more easily and thouroughly corrected with a power tool than by hand especially if the horse is in discomfort or the teeth are extremely long.
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