Components of your Horse's Dental Care
1.) Examination: This portion of the visit includes a pre-sedation physical exam and assessment of the horse's history. The head and face are then examined; you may notice the veterinarian tapping on the sinuses (did you know that your horse's teeth extend up into his sinus cavities?), palpating the muscles of the head for symmetry, checking the movement of the jaw from side to side, and palpating the TMJ joints for sensitivity. Once the horse is sedated, a full mouth speculum will be applied to enable the mouth to be opened, and the head will then be placed on a headstand or in a suspended dental halter. A bright lamp is used to illuminate the interior of the oral cavity, and probes and mirrors allow the veterinarian to visualize all aspects of the teeth and soft tissues. Once the entire mouth has been examined thoroughly, a dental chart is completed. This form allows you and the veterinarian to keep accurate record of your horse's dental condition, abnormalities noted, changes made, etc.
2.) Sedation: An intravenous injection of sedative is then administered. These medications are safe and effective, allowing us to perform the very best treatment while minimizing discomfort to the horse and maximizing safety for everyone involved. The sedatives are effective tranquilizers and also provide analgesia (pain relief) in the case that the horse is experiencing a painful oral condition that requires treatment.
3.) Odontoplasty ("floating"): The goal of a routine dental float is to reduce the sharp enamel points that naturally form on a horse's teeth over time. It is important that this be acheived without compromising the texture of the chewing surface or damaging the sensitive internal parts of the teeth. During this procedure, malocclusions and abnormalities in a horse's bite may be addressed. The canine teeth may be buffed and tartar removed, and a moderate bit seat applied to the second premolars of horses in work. Once the speculum has been removed, the incisors are examined and adjusted if necessary. The veterinarian will once again assess the movement of the jaw after the dental work is done.
*Dr. Wierman is happy to provide routine healthcare such as vaccinations, coggins, and health certificates at your horse's appointment as needed. Please let us know what you will require so that we schedule the appropriate amount of time*