Dental Maintenance is a major factor in equine health. Historically, horses would get their teeth floated as they developed problems with age but keeping the teeth growing evenly and maintaining alignment has been shown to be very effective starting as early as two years of age when permanent teeth are coming in. Since a horse’s teeth grow throughout most of their lives, deviations when they are young perpetuate and often become worse. Problems with baby teeth affecting growth patterns can cause many problems later on such as wave mouth, misalignment of jaws and molar spikes.
Many training problems connected with bridle and bit including fighting the bit, refusing a turn and fighting back when “gathered in” can be helped or corrected with dental care. Other indications of dental problems include slow chewing, spitting out wads of hay or grass, and weight loss.
“Floating” or filing the teeth is typically performed under sedation with a dental speculum in place. Sedation is necessary to do a high quality procedure with full access to the teeth and to reduce chance of injury.