“Floating” is the removal of sharp points from the cheek side of the horses’ upper teeth and from the tongue side of the lower teeth. Floating is the most basic element of regular equine dentistry.
How are the sharp points which make floating necessary created?
As the horse chews it moves its lower jaw, or mandible, downward and outward and grinds its forage by the contraction of facial muscles which close the arcades or lines of teeth together and grind the food between the chewing or occlusal surfaces of the cheek teeth. This occurs as the mandible moves upward and inward.
It is this repetitious grinding inward and upward which keeps the chewing teeth surfaces worn on an angle which appears to slant inward and upward from the cheek or buccal side of the teeth toward the tongue/ lingual or Palatal side of the teeth. This angle is usually around 15 degrees. This slanted surface is called the “surface angle” or “occlusal angle” or “angle of Wilson”.
This “surface angle” or “occlusal angle” or “angle of Wilson” combined with the complex construction of the equine chewing teeth lead to the exposed enamel points that “floating” removes.
The confined conditions which horses are typically kept under in captivity contribute to horses developing more pronounced “points” than they would under natural conditions.
How is Floating done?
Enamel points can be reduced by the use of rasp-like tooth “floats”, by rotating grinding implements called “rotary burrs”, by rotating grinding disks or by mechanically reciprocated rasps or float blades. The instrument used will depend on the practitioner and the instrumentation they use for “floating”.
What are the benefits of Floating?
Removing sharp points will make it easier for your horse to chew more thoroughly. As the horse moves its lower jaw to the side in the chewing motion it stretches its cheeks and the cheeks are pulled more tightly against the teeth edges. Sharp, cutting points which are cutting sores in the cheeks will cause horses to eat more cautiously and not masticate the food as effectively as they will when the cheeks can be comfortably stretched across the cheek teeth. Dropping hay and feed are common signs of excessively sharp teeth.
Equine dental ‘Floating” has been recognized as necessary for dental and oral health for a long time and the positive affects are obvious to those who have seen horses cut and lacerate their mouths just trying to eat or while trying to perform with a bit in their mouth. Do your horses a favor by having their teeth floated regularly.
September is Dental Month and we are currently offering 10% off regular prices of floats scheduled during Dental Month. Call today to book your appointment! 253-847-3500