Equine Performance Dentistry

What's the difference between a tooth float and performance dentistry?

Basic floating of the teeth refers to the removal of sharp enamel edges from the mouth. Where as Performance Dentistry is specifically: "Examination of the function, balance and symmetry of incisors and molar teeth, and treatment as necessary." To maintain optimum oral health and maximise comfort when the horse is masticating and bitted, it is required once or twice per year — throughout life.


Why do my horse's need to see a dentist?

- Due to the anatomy of the horses mouth the upper jaw is approx. 30% wider than the lower counterpart. This combined with the physics of mastication, results in sharp enamel points along the outside of the upper teeth and inside edge of the lower teeth.

- Horses teeth continually erupt throughout their lives, resulting in uneven wear patterns in many horses 

- We have modified the horse's diet and eating pattern through domestication and confinement

- We demand more from our performance horses beginning at a younger age

- We often select breeding animals without regard to dental considerations

How often should a horse be floated?

Routine dental exams facilitate the early diagnosis and treatment of oral disease, preventing more severe and costly problems. These exams should be performed based on age, use and dental assessment. A typical examination schedule looks like:

Juvenile (<5yo): day 1, then every 6mths

Adult (5-18yo): yearly

Senior (18yo+): at least yearly, if pathology exists more often.

Power-tools vs hand-tools?

Any tool used in a horses mouth is only as dangerous as the hand that drives it. Power tools when used by a trained veterinarian are efficient, effective, precise and are more gentle and affords a far better job than hand tools. Hand tools are still routinely used for specific treatments.

Is sedation really necessary?

To allow a through, safe and quick exam sedation is necessary. To examine the back part of your horses mouth a light and dental gag is necessary, movement of the tongue also inhibits an adequate exam, sedation helps with this. Sedation along with a mirror and light allow us to examine every side of every tooth, giving us the ability to pick up pathology before it causes a problem for your horse. ONLY vets are allowed to carry and administer sedation.

Signs your horse needs a dental?

- Head tossing while riding

- Biting at the bit

- Dropping feed

- Losing weight despite being fed well

- Resistance to the bit

- Foul odour from the mouth and/or nose

Or its been 12mths since their last check up!