Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Whole Tooth - and nothing BUT the Tooth!

I scheduled the vet to come out for a dental on two older horses - Candy who is 24, and my dear darling Suzy, who is 23 yrs old. Suzy has had a "float" (what they call it when the vet files sharp points off the horse's teeth) about 5 years ago. Candy - we don't know how long its been. I took some photos of the procedure and it was interesting to me because I've never seen a power float used before. My vets in the past have always used a hand float tool. Horses' teeth are continually growing, and as they eat, they chew from side to side, which causes sharp points to form next to the cheek and next to the tongue on each tooth. The points need to be filed down. Horses do not get cavities because the teeth constantly wear down as they chew and as they age.

First up was Candy. It didn't take long for the sleepytime injection to take effect.Candy got her mouth rinsed out to remove grass and hay from around her teeth.
Then we hooked a halter with padded bumpers on it way up high on the deck post, so the vet could crank her head up, because with sleepy meds, she'd want to drop her head down towards the ground.
He attached a battery operated bright light to be able to see inside the dark cavern while he was grinding away to smooth sharp points away from the sides of each tooth.... You can see the black cord from the light coming from the left of the picture.
...and he used a DeWalt power drill with a tooth grinding has a diamond blade! Impressive! See the fine tooth powder smoking from that drill? Smells just like when you go to your own dentist and the tooth is being drilled! WOW!Despite all of the noise and pressure, Candy seemed really relaxed. Thank goodness for tranquilizers, eh?I had to hold horse tongues during the procedures. They're slippery when wet, but i got a better grip when they dried out a little. Candy had a tooth that was broken off. The root part of the tooth will be pushed out by itself later on, but the tooth above it had grown longer to fill up the space from the missing tooth - so the long tooth took quite a while to file down. If the tooth gets too hot from the drilling, it will destroy the tooth. Care has to be taken to rinse the mouth and cool the tooth down before continuing to drill.Next up, Dear Sweet Suzy! See the expression on the vet's face? This was no picnic, that's for sure! Oh, Sleepy Suzy....
Lookee HERE!
Working hard, and almost done. Suzy's teeth weren't quite as bad as Candy's teeth, BUT -
"MERRY CHRISTMAS!" the vet told me as he handed me a gift....
Horses teeth grow their entire lives - all of the tooth they will ever have is stored way up inside the skull bone. They grow down from the skull more as they wear out. When the tooth comes to the end, that's it, and it just comes out, which is how it happened for Suzy. She'll be fine without the tooth, but will need regular dental care to prevent the tooth above it from growing way too long and causing pain. Time for Suzy to relax in the dry lot with Candy.... and so she gets her head lowered and is lead back to the corral.... Sleep it off, girls! You'll be fine later on!

Big Toothy Grins -


Angela said...

Cool post Monica!

Is the tooth fairy going to visit Suzy tonight? I sure hope so!

It sure is wild to see the inside of a horse's mouth!

Thanks for sharing such an interesting post with us!


Chatty Crone said...

We are all looking at the pictures. We are all A M A Z E D! That was so interesting. Looks like hard work for the vet.

I didn't know the tooth kept growing and that all the teeth material was there all the time stored in the brain.


Love your blog today.


^..^Corgidogmama said...

Wow! What an interesting post, and those pictures!!!
That is a job I wouldn't want, would you? So, horses really do stand while sleeping?
Now, I don't feel so scared about Addie's much needed dental work!

Elizabeth said...

This is so interesting, Monica! I love all the detailed photos you had for us!
Thanks for visiting my VTT!

The imPerfect Housewife said...

Wow - that totally grossed me out and interested me and kept me captivated all at the same time!! That was pretty cool because I'd never seen that or heard of it - city girl that I am (for now!). Hope you have a good Friday ~ ♥

Life is good! said...

wow, that was interesting. glad they were given something so they didn't see that drill coming at them! have a great day.

Simple Southern Happiness said...

Mercy sakes, I dont think my heart beat normal reading this post about Candy. She is a trooper, that is for sure.

Di said...

My gosh what a phenomenal procedure! and I loved the inside roof of the mouth... quite stunning. Beautiful animals. Enjoy your weekend.

ocmist said...

I LOVED getting a chance to see this. Mick had it done on my old Cory about two years ago just before he got transferred and moved out of town. I'd had it done the old way before that. It cost about 6 times the amount the old way cost though!!! It used to be around $50-60 and it was over $300 this last time... something about the tranquilizer costing so much?!? They never had to use a tranq before.

It used to be a LOT HARDER for the vet then, but cost a LOT less!