Does My Horse Need Equine Dentistry?

Geoff Tucker, DVM FAQ - Basics Leave a Comment

“It’s not how sharp the teeth are,
it’s the threshold of pain that determines the need and frequency of floating.” – Doc T

The day your horse’s teeth are floated is the day all sharp enamel edges are removed and all oral pain is eliminated.

The horse chews between 10,000 and 40,000 times a day according to research. The hardness of the enamel varies between horses. The movement of the jaw and the tongue also varies between horses. These two factors will affect how rapidly the sharp enamel edges reform. I have seen edges last a year and I have also seen them last 1 month. The average is 6 months.

However, there is a more important determinant of when to re-float the horse. It is the perception of pain by the horse. In other words, there are some tough horses and there are some wimps.

For most horses, somewhere between 6 and 12 months, the need for floating the teeth moves from a preventive procedure to a corrective procedure. The only one who can determine when it is time to float the teeth is the horse. It is up to the rider to feel when the horse is due, or to schedule floating before that point is reached. Prevention is the preferred situation because when your horse starts to have a bit or chewing problem it may be a while before you can get your vet or dentist to respond.

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