I recently spoke about teeth and dentals, but I’m going to do it again. This time I’m going to talk about myths and legends surrounding horse teeth. There’s a saying I hear around here quite often: No Hoof, No Horse. I have a second version: No Tooth, Expensive Feed Bill. Read on to learn about how to avoid the expensive feed bill. After you finish reading, call, email, or message the Clinic to set up a dental float during the month of July and enjoy a $35 discount!
1.Young horses don’t need dentals
Very, very, very not true. Horses under the age of five years have a ton of stuff going on in their mouths. They have baby teeth leaving and adult teeth growing in. Major changes happen about every 6 months. On top of that, baby teeth and young adult teeth are very soft. This makes them form super-sharp points ridiculously fast. In addition, all those changes need to be monitored. If a tooth erupts not quite correctly, it can be corrected now, and you can avoid a lifetime of dental corrections.
2. Miniature horses don’t need dentals
If ever there was a snaggle-toothed bunch of horses, it’s miniatures. They try to fit the same number of teeth in their mouth as a full-size horse. Sometimes it goes very badly. Minis also like to get what are called supernumerary teeth. These are extra teeth that form for no good reason and cause mass chaos in a mouth. The earlier they are identified, and removed, the better the rest of the teeth will do.
3. Power tools are bad
I covered this one last time, but I’m going to do it again, since I hear this myth the most. Power tools aren’t bad. They let my Docs do the same job on the first horse of the day, and the 10th horse of the day. Power tools get the job done faster, with less stress on your horse, and my Docs. Know what makes power tools bad? People who don’t know how to use them. That’s not my Docs. They go to continuing education every year to stay up to date on the latest research. They also participate in veterinary online forums discussing dentistry for horses. If you have ever used a drill or power saw, then you understand the benefits of power tools. Hand drilling and sawing takes a long, long time, and you’re exhausted after one hole, or board.
4.You can perform a dental float without sedation
Alright, I’ve seen this one a few times. One of these people is even a veterinarian, I’m ashamed to say. Let me nip this in the bud right here and now. Sedation, a full mouth speculum, and a bright light are required to see ALL of your horse’s mouth. Anything less is bad medicine. That mouth goes way back there! There is simply no way to fully evaluate a mouth with anything less!
5. Old horses don’t need dentals
I will give you that some horses, during some periods of their lives, can go two years between dentals. These are horses between 10 and 15 years, who are working as lawn mowers or being lightly ridden periodically, and have a history of dental evaluations which demonstrated good teeth. No matter the age, if your horse is being regularly ridden, it should have a dental float yearly. There may not be much to correct, but that little bit is just as annoying to your horse as that little pebble in your shoe. After about 15 years of age, yearly dental evaluations are needed to check for old teeth. Horses start to wear out their teeth sometime between 15 and 25. The range is that big because a lot of factors are involved in the wearing out of something as significant as a horse tooth. Worn out teeth cause significant pain! Can you imagine chewing on celery with a painful tooth? Yeah, me either. Don’t make your horse chew hay with one.
Keep the pearly whites pearly and white! Schedule your dental evaluation and float In-Clinic during July and get $35 off!! Seriously, that’s a deal! Be sure to bring tuna fish for me, and I will grace you with my presence. I expect scratches under the chin, behind my ears, and along my back.