What is Natural Balance or Whole Horse Equine Dentistry Presented by
I will go over the most frequently asked questions and briefly explain my method, along with other methods of dentistry being preformed. This presentation is an attempt to inform my clients and future clients about my method of dentistry. Welcome
<ul><li>How does the owner know what is good dental care? </li></ul>Well that can be tricky… Many people can talk the talk but not all can walk the walk. However, with a little bit of education I feel it becomes common sense. Every owner needs to question their dentist or vet and then do some research. It is quite easy to understand which method fits the horse and makes sense when everything is explained. Even simpler then that, what does not make you cringe when you watch it being preformed and often has volunteer patients. From birth nature balances the horse’s mouth naturally. I will go over this system with you so you understand why it is the key to maintaining harmony in the horse’s mouth and body .
<ul><li>Owners seem to either do nothing until they really see a problem with the eating habits of their horse or they follow a rigid schedule of floating every three-six months as a matter of course, whether the horse needs it or not. </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation is an attempt to educate owners and care givers on proper care based on what fits the horse. </li></ul><ul><li>***Please remember if you fit one of the above, You will not be judged for this. I too was a neglectful owners until I was able to find a method that fit my horse. </li></ul>How many horses need regular dental care? All horses do , but it often becomes either a neglected or over used area of horse care.
How do I know my horse needs a dentist? <ul><li>Dropping of food while eating </li></ul><ul><li>Sipping of water intermittently between eating hay or concentrate feed. </li></ul><ul><li>Rolls or balls of hay are dropped from the horses mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Large particles of hay or whole grain in the manure </li></ul><ul><li>Poor performance </li></ul><ul><li>Excessive salivation </li></ul><ul><li>Head tilted </li></ul><ul><li>Bleeding mouth </li></ul><ul><li>Poor head carriage </li></ul><ul><li>Not willing to move forward </li></ul><ul><li>Lameness issues </li></ul><ul><li>Chipmunk Cheeks </li></ul><ul><li>Large forehead muscles </li></ul><ul><li>Locked in one direction, turns better in one direction </li></ul>
All horses need regular dental care, no matter how big, small or what discipline!
Why do horses need a dentist? <ul><li>Recent studies have shown that up to 80% of all domestic horses have significant dental abnormalities compared to their wild counterparts. Through domestication, we have altered their grazing habits, diet, breeding and work load. </li></ul><ul><li>The horse’s tooth is about 4inches long and continually erupts . It is designed to wear through out their life time. </li></ul>
<ul><li>An imbalance in the mouth creates </li></ul><ul><li>compensations and imbalances in the body. </li></ul>A balanced mouth is a critical piece to allow for balance throughout the entire body. The ultimate result being the horse’s ability to balance themselves with the addition of a rider. While performing at their highest potential.
Early Dental Development of the Horse <ul><li>Horses are born with the first three premolars in their mouth. These teeth are already in contact with each other. </li></ul>Giving the mouth the necessary stability for the Bones in the skull to alien properly and the Temporal Mandibular Joints(TMJ) to function correctly.
<ul><li>The pattern of permanent tooth eruption always maintains a state of natural balance. Before a cap is shed there is a permanent set of teeth in contact to maintain stability in the mouth. </li></ul>The eruption pattern and rate of the teeth are key to a proper balance! This constant balancing act continues until age five; deviations from this schedule are sometimes breed-specific.
Eruption Pattern <ul><li> The following list shows the approximate age at which different teeth erupt. </li></ul><ul><li>Deciduous (Baby Teeth) </li></ul><ul><li>1st incisors (centrals): Birth or 1st week </li></ul><ul><li>2nd incisors (intermediates): 4 to 6 weeks </li></ul><ul><li>3rd incisors (corners): 6 to 9 months </li></ul><ul><li>1st, 2nd, and 3rd premolars: Birth or first two weeks for all premolar </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Permanent (Adult Teeth) </li></ul><ul><li>1st incisors (centrals) 2 1/2 years </li></ul><ul><li>2nd incisors (intermediates) 3 1/2 years </li></ul><ul><li>3rd incisors (corners) 4 1/2 years </li></ul><ul><li>Canines 4 to 5 years </li></ul><ul><li>2nd premolars (1st cheek teeth) 2 1/2 years </li></ul><ul><li>3rd premolars (2nd cheek teeth) 3 years </li></ul><ul><li>4th premolars (3rd cheek teeth) 4 years </li></ul><ul><li>1st molars (4th cheek teeth) 9 to 12 months </li></ul><ul><li>2nd molars (5th cheek teeth) 2 years </li></ul><ul><li>3rd molars (6th cheek teeth) 3 1/2 - 4 years </li></ul>
0-5 years = 16mm – 23mm is possible in some months 5-10 years = 3mm per year 10-15 years= less than 3mm 15-20 years= 2mm 20-25 years= 1mm 25+ years = . 5mm Eruption Rate Guide You can see the teeth are very short. This is a young mouth. Look at how long the teeth are. This clearly shows why Less is more!
Age Appropriate Dentistry <ul><li>For the young horse it is very appropriate to be checked every six months. </li></ul><ul><li>I will check the caps (baby teeth), ensuring that they are shedding properly and the permanent teeth are coming into balanced wear. </li></ul>This way I can set the horse up for success, providing balance in the mouth that will last a lifetime.
<ul><li>For horses 6-20 years of age a yearly exam and balancing is generally good care. </li></ul>Horses over the age of 20 are generally checked on a yearly recall, until they start losing teeth. Then I recommend a bi-yearly exam to keep an eye on the opposing tooth to make sure they do not hyper-erupt and lock up the horses movement of the Jaw. Sometimes a horse needs to be balanced more often to correct pathology in the mouth faster.
Natural Balance or Whole Horse dentistry Back to the Basics <ul><li>Balancing the mouth for the horse is really only removing </li></ul><ul><li>what would inhibit the normal movement of the jaw. </li></ul><ul><li>This way the mouth can self maintain the normal angles and function as designed. (natures design) </li></ul>
I take my time and allow the horse to get acquainted with me and my instrument bag. It is during this time I assess the horse’s posture as well as look and feel for any asymmetry in their bone structure, muscling and joints of the head. It is imperative to look for this, it sets up the guidelines for your horse’s treatment. Every horse has a customized treatment plan, I do not use a cookie cutter method. I also use this time to find out if the horse chooses to have their dental treatment on their own or if they would like a minimum amount of sedation to help them relax. Sedation will be done by you, your vet or prescribed by your vet to me. Getting Started
All my work is done “The Good Old Fashion Way", with hand instruments and no restraints. My instruments were specially designed by Spencer LaFlure to fit the horses mouth and teeth. This allows for a less invasive treatment with precise adjustment and no soft tissue trauma, meaning no blood. Hand Instruments
I prefer to keep the horses head low and will often work on my knees. This helps to keep the horse in a more relaxed state of mind. I start by addressing the incisors first and at every visit. The grasses and hay available for the domestic horse do not have the coarse silica content available in the wild and prevents the horse from wearing them naturally. This leads to excessive length and angle which will eventually create unnecessary pressure, stress and tension it the horse’s TMJ's.
Incisors first How correctly balanced incisors should look. This view is of a horse who had minimal or no incisor work. The incisors are the furthest point away from the TMJ which has the greatest influence on the rotation of them. They also have the greatest influence on the wear of the molars. The smallest mistake here has the greatest influence on the TMJ ” Tommy Howell
<ul><li>I work with your horse’s dental pathology to maximize the surface to surface contact while maintaining or replacing the guidance system or rail road tracks your horse needs to chew properly. </li></ul>Then I move on to the horses cheek teeth or pre-molars and molars. Molars These teeth are responsible for your horses ability to cut and grind their hay and grain
For example, we humans have cusps on our molars and large canine teeth to guide our chewing motion. In my opinion , The horse has an angle to their cheek teeth which is opposite the medial angle of the their TMJs. This is a 10 to 15 degree apposing angle. Maintaining this provides a resting place for the jaw and TMJ’s. Allows the horse to rest and relax their facial muscles, which in turn transfers through out the entire body. I am doing my thesis on this.
Chewing motion of the horse 1. The jaw opens up dropping down 2. Then slides to the side 4. Placing the two cutting edges together 3. Moving the cheek away from the upper teeth Then returns to center to continue
With all that said, to achieve a Balanced mouth: The incisors, TMJ and molars, have to have equal pressure at rest.
What Can Causes an Unbalanced Mouth? <ul><li>Retained caps (baby teeth) </li></ul><ul><li>Posturing </li></ul><ul><li>Grazing and feeds </li></ul><ul><li>Breeding </li></ul><ul><li>Dentist </li></ul>
Retained Caps <ul><li>When the horse sheds his teeth at the age of 2 ½ to 4 ½ it may happen that the caps are not pushed off properly and therefore the permanent tooth underneath cannot erupt correctly. </li></ul>
Retained caps interfering with normal alignment and balance of the incisors
<ul><li>Horses who do not live in a natural living environment, with their head low for most of the day but are stalled or singled out of a herd and live with a predominantly head high position will develop dental problems. </li></ul>Posturing Horses posturing their body due to chiropractic or hoof imbalances also fall in this category. If left untreated for a period of time they will create pathology in the mouth, caused by the body imbalance.
The person will have their head tipped to the side of the pain. Usually they will have their shoulder pulled up close to the pain and a hand applying slight pressure(if infected). This is all to protect the tooth from additional trauma or jarring. So if your horse has an area in their mouth that causes them discomfort when it is bumped. They to will begin to posture their body in order to avoid trauma to that area. Sometimes this may be viewed as a behavioral problem when in fact it is uncomfortable and sometimes painful for the horse to move that way. For instance, If some one has a tooth ache… Every one know the universal body language for this .
<ul><li>A lack of grazing time and ingestion of soft hay or processed feeds (pellets, sweet feed etc.)also contributes to incorrect wear, resulting in an unbalanced mouth. </li></ul><ul><li>In the wild horses spend 14-18 hrs a day grazing. </li></ul>Grazing time and Feeds
<ul><li>So, incorrect eruption, posturing and dental pathology all can inhibit the movement of the jaw creating unworn areas of all teeth, leading to unwanted points and edges on the molars as well as on the incisors . </li></ul>
Other Methods of Dentistry <ul><li>I often get the question, “How are you different?” So I have put together a few examples of other methods I have felt first hand. I searched the internet and skull collections for evidence </li></ul><ul><li>Remember not all dentists work from the same paradigm. </li></ul>
Removing Points This is a very common method . The float head in this picture is placed just to remove the points. Removing these takes away the horse’s Steak knife nature has given them. Necessary to cut the grasses and hay in their diet. Which sets them up for easier proper digestion.
<ul><li>When bit seats are ground into the first premolar they create instability at the very front of the molars. The horse needs the full surface of these premolars to maintain stability in the mouth and the TMJ. Remember, these teeth have been in the horses mouth since 7-14 weeks in-utero. </li></ul>The big question…Bit Seats
Wolf teeth Not all wolf teeth need to be pulled. There are many factors that need to be considered when making this decision. Such as: Location of the tooth, job of the horse, stability or sensitivity of the tooth and bridle the horse is ridden in. Above: This tooth may never need to be pulled on many horses Left: This more then likely will have to come out, Unless the horse is ridden bittless Right: This is a blind wolf tooth (under the gum line) and depends on the sensitivity reaction of the horse, When pressure is applied to the area.
<ul><li>Power Tools </li></ul>In the age of power tools, many horses are floated excessively and with disregard of the natural angles and eruption rate of the horse. Frequent over floating and excessive adjustments will reduce the longevity of the tooth. Power equipment may overheat the tooth. When this happens it heats up a substance called apatite in the tooth firing it like porcelain. This making the surface slick. Preventing proper chewing, which then may lead to digestive problems and Proprioception issues.
<ul><li>Improper dental care will result in an unstable mouth. This creates TMJ issues and will result in the need for the horse to compensation their posture to find comfort and will show up through out their body. </li></ul><ul><li>Many methods don’t address the incisors and some over address the issue. </li></ul>
Natural Balance Dentistry Over corrected teeth, Lost Stability Several examples of forms of dental correction
My Method Recap <ul><li>I balance the incisors (front teeth) first. In order to allow for the proper function of the jaw and TMJs. </li></ul><ul><li>Being sure to leave the natural angles your horse was born with. Which then acts as a railroad track guiding your horses chewing motion. </li></ul><ul><li>With the jaw functioning properly this will then allow the muscles through out the body to function properly. </li></ul><ul><li>And always remember…. </li></ul>
I can’t do it alone! For a truly Balanced Horse…
<ul><li>If you would like me to come present this slide show to your barn or horse group </li></ul><ul><li>You may reach me, Krystin, by phone at 443-618-6438 or e-mail: Krystin@HorseFloss.com </li></ul><ul><li>I currently travels throughout the United States. If I do not travel to your area I will be happy to find someone who will. </li></ul><ul><li>For more information about Me or my philosophy, please visit my web site www.HorseFloss.com </li></ul>