Commonly Asked Questions
Why does my horse needs its teeth floated?
This is my most commonly asked question. Horses teeth (unlike ours) continue to erupt throughout their life.
Most horses are kept on a yearly schedule, which allows us to address any malocclusions that may begin
to form . By evaluationg and addressing these issues before they become a problem, your horse is able
to chew more efficiently, is more comfortable riding, and many health issues can be avoided. Let me explain
further. A horse chews on average up to 50,000 time per day. If the horse is experiencing pain in its mouth,
it may not chew properly. This can result in weight loss and decreased performance in riding horses.
Approximately 85% of all health problems begin in the mouth. When food is not chewed and properly utilized,
it can result in colic choke, and weight loss. Infections in the mouth can also travel to the heart and brain.
Routine dental care can reduce or eliminate these problems. The latest research has also
shown if the TMJ is not properly balanced, it can lead to back and SI pain, which often results in lameness.
The more studies that are being performed, the more we are learning that a horse's overall health truly does
begin in the mouth.
My Horse Is Fat And Rides Well, Why Should I Have Him Floated?
That is a great question. Some horses are quite stoic and will not let you know even when they are in terrible amounts of pain. Please visit our Case Study page to see just one example of a horse in good flesh that gave no indications under saddle that he was hurting. I can not even begin to list the horses that I've worked on that have been in beautiful weight, yet have cuts throughout their mouths and tongues. I've had owners stand there and cry when we open their horse's mouths for the first time and they see the damage that can be done by sharp points. You say, well wild horses don't get their teeth done. I point out to you, they average only 12 years of life. I don't know about you, but I want my horse to live much longer than that and be happy and healthy during those years.
How often does my horse need its teeth done?
Most horses do well with a yearly exam and float. Some horses grow a bit faster and need to be on a more frequent schedule. Some grow more slowly and are fine with 18 month intervals for their floats. It truly depends on the horse.
What is a routine float?
A routine float balances the mouth so that the horse is able to chew most effectively and removes hooks and sharp points. It also can include providing a bit seat which rounds and shapes the first major premolars (the teeth the cheek is pulled against). This allows the bit to be raised off the very sensitive bars, reduces pressure on the tongue, and helps prevent the cheek tissue from being pinched between the bit and teeth. By creating bit seats, it helps reduce numerous performance issues such as tossing the head, getting heavy in the rider's hands, evading the bit, etc. Bit seats are a must have for all show and race horses, but also provides a more comfortable mouth for pleasure and trail horses.
What experience and education do you have?
I grew up around horses and developed a passion for them from a very young age. Finding a quality, yet affordable, Equine Dentist was extremely difficult. Either they wanted to sedate the horse and string its head from the rafters or they would do the horse unsedated and shove my quiet, well behaved horses into a corner of their stall and scare them to the point everyone had a bad experience. I knew there had to be a better way. I finally took the plunge and attended the American School of Equine Dentistry, which was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Now I am mentor myself and enjoy teaching and educating others that share my same passion. In 2018 alone, I have attended conferences in Texas, Florida, and Pennsylvania and in 2019, I became an Instructor myself for the American School of Equine Dentistry. Continuing education is extremely important in all areas of medicine. My wife is a Registered Nurse in the ER, and she always seems to be doing classes on something. Equine Dentistry is no different. Not that long ago, it was common practice to use a hoof rasp to "float" a horse. There is always a better way of doing things.
What areas do you offer your services?
Note: We will travel farther than the areas listed, but will have a minimum number of horses to be floated and there may be an additional charge.
Virginia - Clarke, Frederick, Warren, Loudoun, Shenandoah, and parts of Fauquier Counties (willing to travel further for barns with 10 or more horses floated at the same time).
Pennsylvania - Lancaster, York, Adams, Franklin, Fulton, Bedford, Somerset, Fayette, Greene, Washington, Allegheny, Westmoreland, Indiana, Armstrong, Butler, Beaver, Laurence, Mercer, Venango, and Clarion Counties (willing to travel to other locations for barns with 10 or more horses floated at the same time).
Maryland - All of Maryland
West Virginia - Jefferson, Berkeley, Morgan, Mineral, Hampshire, Preston, Mongolia, Wetzel, Marshall, Ohio, Brooke, Hancock, Kanawha, Putnam, and Jackson Counties (willing to travel to other locations for barns with 10 or more horses floated at the same time).
Florida - Trips are offered to the Wellington and Ocala areas approximately twice per year during Winter and early Spring.
What do you charge for a farm call?
We do not charge a farm call. The price you see is the price you pay, there are no additional fees.
What hours do you work?
I am available days, evenings, weekends, and for emergencies.
Do you offer any discounts?
I do offer discounts for barns with 8 or more horses floated at the same time.
Do you sedate?
No, I do not offer any form of sedation. Honestly, I prefer to work on unsedated horses. I feel it can put the horse at risk for no necessary reason and most horses do not need to be sedated for a routine float. My clients remark on a regular basis about my horsemanship skills and the horses tend to respond well to my calm demeanor. I hear all the time "well I've always had to sedate my horses for the dentist" and they are usually quite impressed when I'm able to do a complete float without any sedative and the horse remains calm and relaxed. The equipment I use is produced by Dearson and we feel is the safest units available on the market for Equine Dentistry. My power unit is safe enough to have at working speed and be laid directly on human skin without causing any damage. I regularly allow my clients to try it on their own skin before I use it on their horses. Approximately 90% of the horses I float are floated unsedated, and in my experience, they tolerate it better than with even hand floats. We have numerous videos that clients post on our Facebook page of us floating their unsedated horses and the horses literally kick a hoof back and relax during their float (including young Thoroughbreds directly at the track!). However, just like people, some horses are adamant that they don't their mouths worked on. In these cases, the client can request sedation from their veterinarian and administer it themselves (if their veterinarian allows), which saves on a farm call from their veterinarian. Please note: not all veterinarians are comfortable giving their clients sedation. This is between you and your vet. For clients that are not comfortable giving injections, there is also a gel now available that works very well that goes under the horse's tongue and most people do not have any problems giving it to their horse. Like most medications, the gel is only available from a veterinarian and I do not provide it or offer it.
There are other dentists out there, why should I chose you?
I have an excellent reputation for taking the time to do things right. I care about horses and keeps their comfort in mind during the entire process. This includes giving the horse breaks during procedures, which allows the horse to relax mentally and physically. I also strongly believe in education and will spend time with the owner or caretaker explaining procedures and answering all questions. I will take the time to show you what is going on in your horse's mouth and allow you to feel before and after so you know exactly what was done. I also do not nickel and dime my clients and there are never any surprises. I keep my rates affordable so you can provide your horse with the dental care they deserve without having to break the bank. This creates happy clients and happy clients are repeat clients. The majority of my clients have come by word of mouth and an extensive list of references are available from more than 20 Veterinarians that I serve as the EqDT for their personal horses, as well as countless show barns whose horses compete at the highest levels of their sport.
I See You Are Booked Months In Advance, I Need Someone Right now
One of the first questions one should ask when searching for someone to provide dental care for their horses is if the person (either Veterinarian or EqDT) is certified. There are two main associations that provide a certification process for dental care providers. The International Association of Equine Dentistry and the American Association of Equine Providers both offer a rigorous testing process for their members. Second, ask about references. Owners, barn managers, and other equine professionals should be able to share who they use or recommend. We strongly suggest obtaining Veterinary references as well. Most people will be able to share the practitioner's horsemanship ability, but many lack the knowledge base to be able to accurately asses the quality of work the practitioner routinely performs. Don't be afraid to ask for a list of Veterinarians that either refer clients to this practitioner or use the practitioner for their own horses. Also, inquire about Continuing Education. Equine dentistry is an ever evolving field. Research is being performed. New techniques are emerging. Providers should be active in expanding their knowledge base by attending conferences, workshops, and training courses. Practitioners should also carry insurance should an unfortunate event occur. Lastly, don't judge the quality of work based on a practitioner's prices. There may be some that charge upwards of $200 a horse, yet do not even address major malocclusions. Other practitioners may charge well under $100 and only provide hand floating services, yet the quality of work is superior to the $200 power float.