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 two years of dental care. It is as if they were wearing braces. In addition, pathology, including local gum infections, resolves once the jaw and the tongue are allowed to move pain-free.
Transcript With Updated Information
We know that horse teeth erupt (not grow) throughout life. We know that excessive tissue or hard enamel points develop from unopposed wear, and those sharp edges can dig into the horse’s tongue or cheek and create pain. The purpose of 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. Some other dentists today 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 they chew between 10,000 and 40,000 times daily. The purpose, then, is to let the horse chew comfortably and chew into the pattern 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 any change in a horse’s mouth primarily occurs because of pain. The horse will find its own “groove” and start chewing comfortably by eliminating the pain. 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, remove all sources of pain, and let the horse chew comfortably.
Removing the cause of oral pain is the primary purpose; from that, all the secondary things will follow. But if you don’t go after the primary reason but go only after all the secondary stuff, 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, over many years, you will see it in the long term as the horse’s teeth 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 jaw and tongue movement.