The Dental Visit
Upon arrival for your horse’s dental appointment, Doug will assess the condition of your horse’s mouth by performing a physical exam first without, and then with, a speculum*. He will be looking/feeling for alignment & angles, hooks, waves, signs of infection or decay, loose or fractured teeth, retained caps, wolf teeth, or any other abnormalities.
If the physical exam determines that a float is necessary, a variety of hand floats and other tools are used to be sure the procedure is completed thoroughly. Doug will also address any issues that may have been discovered during the exam. If necessary, wolf tooth extractions are performed following the float, as are canine teeth reductions.
Horses are not sedated or restrained by ropes or any other rigging during the exam or the float. In fact, horses are free to move as much as they wish. If you have an arena, Doug prefers to work there, instead of in a stall, so the horse does not feel trapped. Horses usually decide pretty quickly that that it takes a lot less energy to stand still and accept the float procedure.
For planning purposes you can expect a routine float to last approximately 20-30 minutes. You are always welcome to view the "before" and "after" and Doug will answer any questions that you have along the way.
* Note: A speculum is a device used to keep a horse’s mouth open and is required in order to properly float the rear molars. If your horse was previously floated without this device having been used, then a complete float was NOT performed..
A Word About Sedation:
Michigan law prohibits anyone from administering sedation to a horse unless they are the horse's owners or a licensed veterinarian/veterinary technician. LaRose Equine Dentistry specializes in natural equine dental procedures... without sedation. Doug says, “The most difficult part about equine dentistry is getting the horse to stand still,” but sedation is NOT necessary for horses to be compliant for the hand floating.
Anyone who has watched Doug float a horse knows that Doug is first, and foremost, an experienced horseman. His understanding of horse behavior and expertise in ground handling techniques makes even the most difficult horse accepting of his annual visit. Horses can't learn anything while they're sedated.... why not turn every experience into a teaching moment for them?
Sedation-free dental procedures offer less trauma and less risk for the horse, at a much lower cost for its owner. Without sedation, horses can immediately associate the difference in the feel of their mouths with Doug’s work as he releases the speculum many times during each float. This release also releases pressure on the horse's TMJ which keeps the horse comfortable and most horses become even more compliant as the procedure progresses.
For equines requiring advanced dentistry, Doug will work with your veterinarian who must administer the sedation and monitor your horse during the procedure. It is, however, up to the horse owner to contact their veterinarian to request their assistance and to coordinate the appointment.
"The most difficult part of equine dentistry is getting a horse to stand still." ~ Doug LaRose