It's not just people that need to see a dentist regularly: horses need their teeth looked at too. Horses need their teeth “floated” – grounding the sharp points on their teeth down – about once to twice a year.
Horses get sharp points or unevenness on their teeth when their teeth grind together as they chew. Veterinarians put their hands and arms up to their elbows into horses' mouths to check for sharp points. Many also use a set of hand mirrors, speculum, and head lamp to get an adequate look.
Wild horses don't need their teeth floated because their diet incorporates more forage and minerals that accomplish the grinding naturally. Domestic horse diets are more based in grain, which is chewed and processed by teeth differently than grass.
Most horses need to be sedated in order to remain still for the floating and examination process. Special attachments to power tools enable veterinarians to float a horse's mouth relatively quickly simply and comfortably for the horse.
Learn more about the basics of equine dental care at Vail Daily.
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