A Thorough Dental Visit

A Thorough Dental Visit

      Immunization, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial medication. If any invasive procedures were performed, such as wolf tooth extraction, molar or premolar extraction, or bar osteophyte removal (removal of boney spurs from the bars-the lower spaces behind the front teeth and the cheek teeth-which the bit rests upon), then Tetanus immunization status is verified with the owner or barn manager, and given if indicated. If there have been major extractions, etc. anti-inflammatory meds. and anti-biotics are given to be on the safe side, and often more are dispensed to be given for the required time to allow safe healing.

      Reversal of tranquilization. A relatively new addition to my procedure is the reversal of sedation, whereby I give an injection of an agent which restores the patient to full awareness and coordination within just a few minutes, greatly decreasing the danger of stepping out of the work area onto a smooth concrete aisle, especially for shod horses, making the trip back to the stall, and beginning to consume hay and/or grain easier and maybe safer.

      Recommendations for aftercare and provision of written record. As the patient begins to come around, the written record (dental chart) is completed by either me or someone assisting (perhaps my wife, Dawn, my son, Joe or another helper), including advice on feeding, time off if necessary (rarely), medication, and time period recommended for re-check. If we found ulcerations in the cheeks and it has been a year, then I advise checking at six months, etc. A few individuals, especially younger ones less than eight years, actually have pretty sharp points causing holes again in three to four months!

      Our dental charts are three part, the white copy is for the owner, the yellow copy for our dental patientís primary care veterinarian and we retain the pink copy for our records. Our contact information is also on our charts for client feedback, questions, referrals, etc.

      This work on the rows of cheek teeth is where some of the large variation in fees charged comes in. If the horse has been blessed with the inheritance of nice, straight arcades =(rows of teeth), then the amount of effort and therefore the fee will be much less than if we find big problems requiring much grinding of offending teeth. This is why the first-time (for thorough dental care) horse will very often be considerably more costly than a "re-do" (a horse that has been done properly within the last few months.)

      Yes, they do need help every few months (6 to 12) because the incisors and the molars continually erupt throughout the life of the horse, and the diet is very abrasive, (grass and hay contain silica, tough stuff) so that points and major malocclusions tend to recur continually. The more frequently the corrections are made, the easier it is to do. The occlusal surfaces of the teeth (the grinding surface) will always meet halfway between the space we create between them and their opposing mates, within the first few months after the corrections are made.



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