Routine dental examinations can help to identify problems or the potential for problems in your horse’s mouth. With their successful resolution, your horse’s health will be maintained. Such examinations are often advised on a yearly basis for the average adult horse, and are an important part of an "equine wellness program." Older or geriatric horses may require more frequent examinations such as every six months.
To conduct a dental examination, your veterinarian will usually need to sedate your horse so that its mouth can be held open, facilitating an accurate and complete examination. Using a good light source, the veterinarian will examine all surfaces of the teeth, the tongue, gums and other oral structures and note these findings in the horse’s record. Any rough, uneven surfaces and any sharp points or edges of teeth will be addressed using a specific type of instrument to file or rasp the edges. This process is often referred to as "floating" a horse’s teeth. This procedure will be carried out with a manual file or a power-operated version, which will require the horse to be sedated. The ultimate goal is to balance and realign the surfaces of the teeth where necessary, in order to preserve and maintain them.