Removal of the source of pain from the mouth of the horse is the primary purpose of equine dentistry. Most problems or pathology of the horse mouth are secondary to pain. An observation over my decades of floating is the alignment of the teeth after about 2 years of dental care. It is as if they were waring braces. In addition, often pathology including local gum infections resolve once the jaw and the tongue are allowed to move pain free.
We know that horse teeth erupt (not grow) throughout life. We know that there is excessive tissue or hard enamel points that developed from unopposed wear and those sharp edges can dig into the horses tongue or into their cheek and create pain. The purpose in floating a horse’s teeth is to remove all those sharp points and make the horse comfortable.
The bottom line is removing all sources of pain. There are some other dentists out there today who think that the purpose of floating horse teeth is to get proper alignment and lateral excursion among other things. But I find that a horse chews a lot in a day. It has been documented that a they chew between 10,000 and 40,000 times in a day. The purpose, then, is to let the horse chew comfortably and let the horse chew into the pattern that they are supposed to have. I don’t want to start upsetting things by changing angles and changing all sorts of things because
I believe that any change in a horse’s mouth primarily occurred because there was pain. By eliminating the pain, the horse will find its own “groove” and it will start chewing comfortably. Most of those problems in the mouth will disappear. This includes abnormally shaped incisors, waves, and gum disease. Most of these, if not too advanced, will be alleviated if you consistently float the horse and remove all sources of pain and let the horse chew comfortably.
Removing the cause of oral pain is the primary purpose and from that, all the secondary things will follow. But if you don’t go after the primary cause but go only after all the secondary things, then the order is off and, in my opinion, dentistry won’t work.
With the removal of pain, you will see the results in the comfort of the horse on the bit and you will see the results in the comfort of the horse while eating. More importantly, you will see it in the long term, over many years, as the horse’s teeth actually change position, becoming aligned inside the horse’s mouth, as if they were wearing braces. This is because the teeth are no longer causing pain and limiting the movement of the jaw.