What Is Teeth Floating?
Teeth floating is the process of trimming and smoothing the edges of your horse’s teeth. To put it simply, it is a form of dental care as regular floating helps prevent and fix tooth wear, cracked teeth, bad breath, and a variety of other problems.
It’s not a new dental procedure, horse teeth floating is used all around the world and has been practiced for a long time. It’s probably the most common preventative dental procedure that horses undergo. But if you have never heard of it before, you may be confused as to why you should get this procedure done for your horse, how it works, and how to find a reputable equine dentist that is qualified and capable of performing this procedure.
In this article, we will help you understand everything you could possibly want to know about horse teeth floating so you will be able to better make an informed decision about whether or not this dental procedure is best for your horse.
Why Is Floating A Horse’s Teeth Important?
Keeping your horse’s teeth in tip top condition is extremely important, but this is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when caring for our equestrian companions.
Actually, most veterinarians' agenda immediately suggests a dental exam and floating as part of your first consultation if you buy a horse or board your horse.
A dental exam is incredibly important to highlight any issues, which will affect your horse's well-being. The teeth may cause pain if they are not in good condition, or even cause problems if the root is exposed outside the mouth. In either case, this will cause problems throughout your horse’s life.
Kicking out or taking the bit out of your horse's mouth becomes impossible if he cannot put pressure on his teeth. This may lead to problems for your horse, resulting in a lot of problems for you!
A good dental check will ensure your horse’s teeth are not a problem and that your horse is able to use his teeth to their fullest.
When Should A Horse Have Its Teeth Floated?
Horse teeth floating should be performed when there is a build up of plaque (tarter) under the gum line. Plaque and tartar will cause bad breath (halitosis), and excessive drooling in your horse, but by and large they are not symptoms that need to be investigated further. Plaque and tartar build up normally over time, and it has little to do with the amount of food your horse eats. Excessive intake of food can be a contributing factor and may need to be controlled through specific management.
Excessive salivation due to poor dental care may also cause digestive issues and health complications for your horse. Saliva helps your horse break up food and protects the digestive system from harm. By controlling your horse’s drooling, you can also contribute to the overall health of your horse.
Bare in mind that tartar is not equal to a cavity. A cavity is formed when tooth roots are infected and there is an active process of root rotting that occurred.
Signs of Dental Problems? How often do we have to check our horse’s teeth?
Dental care ideally should be done every few weeks. Teeth floating is the first sign of dental care needed, and it should be done every six to fourteen weeks. Decaying teeth, cracked or worn teeth, teeth that are out of alignment (malocclusion), or extremely long canines may necessitate a more frequent schedule of visits to your vet or equine dental specialist.
There are several reasons for regular dental care:
- Prevention of Dental Disease
- Keeping Teeth Healthy
- Preventing Head to Neck Injury
- Avoidance of Head Trauma
- Aiding in Feeding
- Reducing Wasted Feed
- Prevention of Starvation
Disclosing the horse's teeth, you can find out if the teeth need floating. The signs unattended teeth may develop can include the following:
- Worms in the horse's mouth
- The horse is bothered by flies or has other type of painful bites in the mouth
- Face rubbing and tail swishing
- Face rubbing
- Unwanted behavior such as cribbing, weaning, or other repetitive habits
Peering closely into your horse’s mouth will help you to spot the following dental disorders:
- Carrying bad teeth in the upper jaw
- Large spaces between the first incisors
- The first incisor is lying at the bottom outside of the space
Does Floating A Horse’s Teeth Hurt?
Horse teeth floating is an easy and quick procedure. The equine dentist will discuss the horse’s specific needs prior to the horse teeth floating procedure. This allows the horse to be relaxed, comfortable, and cooperative. Sedation is the most effective method for floated a horse’s teeth. The sedation takes the horses pain away so that the horse will remain calm throughout the process.
There are many ways for you to help the horse feel more comfortable and docile. One of the best methods to do this is to feed the horse an hour prior to the horse teeth floating procedure. The feed will help the horse to be settled and relaxed.
All horse floating procedures are performed by a licensed equine dentist. The general anesthesia is humane, and completely reversible. The horse will be comfortable throughout the whole procedure.
How to Care for Your Horse’s Teeth
As horses get older, they tend to develop a set of consistent behaviors or habits. One of those habits is often chewing on anything they can get their teeth on. Even when not grazing or browsing, senior horses can spend a great deal of time chewing. This is due partly to the natural texture of the horse’s mouth, but it’s also a sign of teething pain and a sign of aging in your horse.
Between the ages of four and eight, for example, it’s common for your horse to lose a few teeth. This is because a horse’s teeth are very sensitive, and a horse will often chip or splinter a tooth when eating fast. In addition, as horses age the joints in their jaw lengthen, increasing the chances that a tooth will be exposed.
The best way to deal with a horse that has teeth floating or a horse that is continually chewing is to get them checked by the vet first. They may be harboring an infection or a loose tooth may be the cause of the issue.
If the vet says your horse is fine, there are some things you can do to help with the teething pain.
How Much Does a Float Cost?
A horse teeth floating is the most basic way to help your horse if they develop tooth pain. It is a quick and effective way to relieve pressure and address the problem. Some horses suffering from serious problems such as infected teeth may benefit from more advanced horse teeth floating such as:
- horse teeth grinding
- Bridle-bit style horse teeth floating
- horse teeth rasping
- Electric horse teeth floating