Dr. Sandra Blackwood DVM. - 719-495-1039 - email@example.com
Most dental appointments with Dr Blackwood are 30 to 60 minutes in duration. The dental appointment includes the following:
Dr Blackwood will discuss your horse's medical history and any behavioral problems or bitting issues.
A complete physical examination will be performed. The eyes and skin will be examined for any abnormalities. A stethoscope is used to listen for heart murmurs or sand in the intestinal tract.
An initial dental exam is performed. The head is palpated for any painful areas or asymmetry. The temporomandibular joints are checked for abnormalities or pain. The forehead and cheek muscles are examined for symmetry. Sensitivity from cheek pressure can indicate sharp points. Incisor alignment and freedom of movement is assessed. The jaw is moved from side to side to assess mobility. A distinct sliding sound can be heard, and the character of the sound can indicate dental abnormalities. The front cheek teeth can be assessed for abnormalities.
An appropriate sedative is administered to allow safe placement of the oral speculum. The speculum has plates that the incisors rest on, allowing the mouth to be opened gently and safely. A thorough examination of all 24 cheek teeth can now be completed. The cheek teeth are assessed for steps, waves, exaggerated transverse ridges (exaggerated roughening of the chewing surfaces), dental decay, fractured teeth, and various other abnormalities. The bars of the mouth (the space between the cheek teeth and the incisors) are evaluated for bitting injuries and wolf teeth. Some wolf teeth cannot be seen but can be felt under the gums.
Cheek teeth abnormalities are corrected. Most of the work is performed with power tools. Skillfully used power tools offer many advantages, including easier access to the back of the horse's mouth, quicker correction of abnormalities, and decreased soft tissue trauma to the mouth. Wolf teeth are extracted if indicated. Tartar is removed from the canine teeth if needed, and canines are shortened and blunted. Horses that are ridden with a bit benefit from bit seats, a procedure that rounds the sharp corner of the first cheek teeth, eliminating pinching of the horse's cheeks when pressure is applied to the bit.
The speculum is removed and occlusion and freedom of movement of the cheek teeth and incisors is assessed. Incisor abnormalities are corrected if needed.