If I had to choose the one procedure that affords the most improvement in a horse’s overall health and well being, it would be a correct dental. Equine dentistry is often overlooked, or done by lay people without the proper training, which not only can fail to normalize a mouth, but can often cause problems.
Equine Dentistry Services:
Routine dental care prevents premature tooth loss, promotes a more complete utilization of feed, and decreases impaction comics and chokes. Equine dentistry has evolved significantly in the past ten years. The power tools allow us to do a better job smoothing sharp molar edges and normalizing mouths that have not had a dental in many years. The full mouth specula allow us a complete view of the mouth’s interior. We can easily reach the farthest teeth with hands, instruments, and most importantly, light, to directly visualize all the structures. The newer sedatives are short acting and allow the process to be carried out more safely and with less stress. Our digital x-ray unit takes highly detailed images of tooth roots and sinuses for accurate diagnoses and treatment evaluations.
Oral exam and charting
The first step in a proper dental flotation is conducting a correct evaluation or oral exam of the teeth and other mouth structures. We flush the mouth with water so we can see everything, then make sure the incisors are normal and smooth, and that the lips, gums, and tongue have no signs of disease or trauma. We palpate the jaw bones feeling for hard lumps or soft swellings. Once the mouth is held open by a speculum, we can reach a hand inside and feel for sharp edges, or subtle soft tissue problems. A strong light helps us see all areas and complete the exam. Once done, findings are written on our special dental examination form for future reference.
Routine Equine dental floats
A typical horse over the age of three should have his mouth examined yearly. Most working horses will have their molars floated/filed to remove sharp edges and return the angles of the teeth to normal. If the horse does not need a dental, we recheck the following year. It is very important to check teeth yearly. Small imperfections are easily fixed, but when left unattended, they can cause further deviation leading to expensive and painful complications.
Treatment of damaged or diseased Equine teeth
We treat many broken or infected teeth each year. Treatment of damaged or diseased Equine teeth usually is begun with the hope of saving the tooth. We may have to remove infected gum tissue or foreign bodies. It is surprising how often a piece of wood will become lodged between the gum and tooth resulting in a painful abscess. Broken teeth have sharp edges that must be smoothed. Infected tooth roots may need antibiotic flushes or packing for an extended length of time. Sometimes teeth are so infected they must be extracted. Older horses have normally looser teeth that often need to be helped along on their way out to improve the animal’s comfort.
Equine tooth extraction of abnormal or diseased teeth
Sometimes we extract abnormal or diseased teeth, or remove baby teeth that are preventing the adult teeth from erupting normally. We often remove wolf teeth – small, vestigal teeth that may interfere with biting. Most equine dental extractions can be done with the horse standing and sedated, but a few will require general anesthesia.
Equine Radiology evaluation
Equine X-rays can be extremely helpful in deciding on a successful course of action. Our digital x-ray system gives us high quality images of these small areas and helps us evaluate the delicate tooth roots. Many molars have their roots in the sinuses so an image of that area is also needed to find any potential causes of sinusitis.
Give Danielle Bercier DVM CCRP a call at Equine Medical for all of your Equine Dentistry needs. Our team is here to guide you through all of our procedures and prove to you that our main mission to make sure your Mare and Foal gets a correct dental to improve their oral hygiene and longevity of life.
Danielle L. Bercier DVM CCRP
Equine Medical Services
15828 South Blvd.
Silverhill, AL 36576
Phone: (251) 945-7555
Emergency: (850) 380-7973