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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    1,861

    Default Need input on dental work for older (quidding) horse

    Should an older horse whose molars are getting flatter, and who is quidding hay, be floated twice a year the same as before? I've heard two sides of this.

    Vets seem to say, leave them alone, they need what they have, dentists tend to remove too much, making things harder for the horse ultimately.

    Dentists say, they actually could use dental visits MORE often, and because the science of a horse's dentition is that it's dynamic and always changing, just because they can't grind hay like they used to doesn't mean they shouldn't get floated as often.

    We do have a horse who seemed to quid worse after the dentist floating last year. Discussed this with the dentist and he launched into 30 minutes about why that was, and why he needs to keep treating the horse on the same schedule as opposed to less often.

    I'm a little worried about how to handle this and am confused by all the different inputs. Can anyone help shed more light on this subject?
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  2. #2
    Join Date
    May. 16, 2003
    Location
    Twinsburg, OH
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    301

    Default

    My 26 yr old mare gets done by a vet. And I have gone longer this time. We usually go about 18 months. We decided to go a little longer. I have her teeth checked every 6 months.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2008
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    4,025

    Default

    Though I have my 30yr old checked 2x a year, my dentist feels strongly about preserving as much tooth as possible. Luckily my old guy has great teeth and doesn't go out of balance much so he usually needs only a touch up if anything at all.

    My younger gelding used to have really bad hooks in the back, which took some time to get down, visits 2x a year. They recently started to want to come back and my dentist is wanting to be more aggressive, but wants to preserve his tooth as well so he has something for old age. She suggested getting his teeth xrayed so she can make a judgment call on how aggressive she feels she can be when she comes back.

    In summary, though my dentist feels 2x a year checkups are wise especially for older horses, she only pulls out the tools if needed and there have been plenty of times my older guy just didn't need it.
    Worry is the biggest enemy of the present. It steals your joy and keeps you very busy doing absolutely nothing at all... it’s like using your imagination to create things you don’t want.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2010
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    1,486

    Default

    I think this is hard to answer in a general way. The teeth do not erupt as fast when they are older. If an older horse had good dental care through its life, there is very little that will need to be done to the chewing surface, if anything. The visit on an older horse is often checking for infections, taking off the points on the edges, and small tweaks on the chewing surface. If your horse has had good care and your dentist is removing a lot of tooth on the chewing surface every 6 months, then i would find someone else. A horse that is properly floated will have their teeth last longer. Regardless if you do them at 6 months or a year. Taking the points off the edges of the teeth won't make the teeth wear out faster. The only thing that makes them wear out faster is a dentist not knowing what they are doing. Either not taking enough of the chewing surface off when needed, or taking too much off. Many people don't understand this.

    How old is your horse? How much does he quid? Just because they have some teeth that are getting smoother they still should not quid or quid very much as long as the dentist knows what they are doing or there are not other things going on in there such as cavities, pockets, etc.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    Default

    davistina:
    He has had dental care his whole life (24) but not always the best of care. Since he's been with me he's had twice a year visits by a good dentist who has tried his best to address some previous 'less than perfect' work by some other dentist. He quids his hay pretty extensively BUT he still manages to get about half of it down (soft hay). He also gets dengie and senior feed and drops a lot of it (lots of saliva) but eats it all pretty much. The quidding is the biggest issue. After talking with this dentist for as long as I did today, I'm leaning towards thinking he should do the visit and he seems aware that the horse is going to need a very light touch and extreme attention to detail... I'm still a nervous nellie about it though, simply because it seemed to be worse after the last visit (maybe he just had some sensitivity)
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2010
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    Hard to have any specific recommendations without seeing the mouth. Don't have any pictures of his mouth from a previous float do you? I would be a bit nervous also if he truly was worse after the last float. That should never happen. If he has all his teeth and he is quidding that much, I would bet he has other things going on in there. Does your dentist fill cavities? If they are not educated or have the equipment, they often just blow it off. I've seen some horses hardly eat anything then the same day after a cavity is filled they eat perfect. Certainly may not be the issue but a thought.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2002
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    Default

    He's had an incisor on the side removed; also his canines (one was cracked, the other had an infection if I'm remembering correctly). His back/molars are all there - but well worn down.

    I don't know about cavities. My dentist has identified and fixed lots of problems in this horse so I don't think he'd miss something like that? I'll ask though. The horse ALWAYS ate after being floated - it was just the quidding that got worse after the last one.

    I don't have pictures. Oh - this dentist does not use power tools. The horse DID have power tools used on him I think twice, during a period of time when we had to move to another state for a while. That dentist seemed meticulous but I honestly always wondered if she took off too much tooth back then.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2010
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    Hard to tell on the cavities. Most dentists don't know how important they are, have the training, or the equipment. If he hand floats, I would guess he doesn't. One reason your horse MAY have been quidding more is because he was hand floated. Hand floating is more likely to loosen the teeth then someone with the PROPER power tools, such as a Power Float with a diamond head. Your dentist use a speculum? If he has only been hand floated all but two times, that could explain why his mouth is a mess. In my experience, most people with hand tools don't work on the bite, they only remove edges, and that is at best.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2004
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    1,804

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    The ancient mini (40s) is done by a vet who agrees with preserving what is there. He laid her down a few years ago to extract some diseased (infected teeth) and determined then that there was nothing left to erupt. She has worn many of the remaining molars down nearly to the gumline. She does quid her hay and pasture grass, but maintains her weight fine, and is still able to eat unsoaked grain, though I do soak it for her.

    I prefer power tool floats, but more important IMHO is that the horse is sedated and thoroughly examined. I had several "well regarded" dentists who either did not use a speculum or did not really open up the mouth and get in there with sufficient light and tools to examine everything, and thus missed some pretty big stuff.

    I would leave things alone unless there was some reason not to (like the horse was showing discomfort/reluctant to eat or drink/there was discharge or odor to indicate an infection, etc.). Otherwise, if the horse is eating and maintaining weight, leave it be.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2007
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    2,225

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    I would absolutely want my senior horse's teeth looked at every 6 months with sedation. My horse's back molars are worn down to the gums. They are like shiny, flat plates. He chews about 1 or 2 flakes of soft hay a night, and grazes just fine. But recently he started to chew his grain funny. He has always left about 2-3 quidded balls of hay in his stall, but never any more than that. Dentist came out, found a few pocket between the teeth where food gets stuck. Picked those out, noticed a few teeth to "watch" moving forward (for rotting, etc). And he found 2 very sharp points he filed down, but that was IT.

    I would think if your dentist is aware of your concerns (quidding, keeping teeth in tact and strong) he wouldn't be filing down anything he shouldn't be, or overfiling. Most visits with my horse over the last 3 years have included NO power tools...just picking gunk out of spaces and he had no sharp points, so not alot to do, but I always do exams with sedation so he can see in very well and thoroughly.

    My dentist also took the time to check his manure, to make sure he is indeed mashing down his hay to proper length for digestion, which he is so far, knock on wood.

    I would continue exams but make sure you have the right dentist who knows your concerns and that you want to maintain the best tooth integrity to keep your guy chewing his best for as long as possible.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    May. 23, 2002
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    Mass./Southern California
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    Default

    Yes, he uses a speculum. No, he does not use power tools. Yes he works on and is very attentive about bite, not just edge removal.

    He's coming tomorrow and I will be there. Will update, and thanks for all the input.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education." - Mark Twain



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