Our egonomically correct tools were designed by Spencer LaFlure and allow us to get in close to the horse for precision work.
A properly balanced TMJ is critical to minimizing the development of points.
It is very important to balance the incisors, or front teeth, first.
Dental specialists are trained to work on their knees for the comfort of the horse.
Sadly, this is a sway back horse, and he is not necessarily old. His back is swayed because it has lost it's muscular function, a direct result of improper dentistry and possible overuse of power tools.
POINTS It is common for many practitioners to file off the points on the outside of the top molars and the inside of the bottom molars. Most don’t even touch the front teeth. This approach is used because it is believed that the cheeks get lacerated from the sharp points that develop. A few months after the points are filed down, they come back again because the root cause of the problem wasn’t fixed. The problem is that the Temporal Mandibular Joint, or TMJ, is not centered. A properly balanced jaw moves in a down, out, up and in motion. When the TMJ is not centered the jaw moves in an up and down only motion, causing excessive points to develop.
HOOKS, RAMPS AND PROTRUSIONS There are other protrusions that come about because of improper movement of the jaw. Some practitioners were taught to file down protrusions and make the top of all the molars flat and the sides rounded. All schools teaching dentistry use this method. They start with the molars first then go to the incisors, some don’t even do the incisors. Some also put in a bit seat by cutting off half of the first few molars on the top and bottom to “make room for the bit."
BIG SECRET IS IN THE TMJ AND THE INCISORS! The TMJ needs to be centered and it needs to be stable. Muscles and teeth properly aligned keep it that way. We start by balancing the incisors first to the length and angle of a five year old horse. This approach is based on the wild horse model as horses in the wild keep the same length and angle throughout their entire life due to grazing on grasses rich in silica or abrasives.
TMJ AND MOVEMENT The trigeminal nerve runs through the TMJ. This nerve houses many other nerves that govern the movements of the body such as where the legs are positioned, how they move, how they feel, stride, balance and many other things we haven’t even researched yet. At NBD we have proven that if this jaw is off center, it pinches the nerve and short circuits some of these bodily movements resulting in short strides, not standing square, difficulty in taking leads, balance, body structure or muscle atrophy, lameness and the list goes on and on.
EACH HORSE IS DIFFERENT Precision is a must and every horse is different. We balance the molar tables to precise angles. The angles of the molar tables are the exact opposite angle of the condyle in the TMJ. We do not flatten the molar tables but leave texture for proper movement of the jaw and for proper chewing. Most importantly, left molar table angle equals right table angles and all teeth fit together and are anatomically correct for each individual horse.
PRECISION ON EACH TOOTH Teeth are actually calcified nerves so contact is required to turn on all nerve circuits. All angles and tooth surfaces meeting must be precise. If you want precision you have to be very close to the horses mouth, not a foot or more away. Our hand held instruments are configured to fit comfortably into the horses’ mouth and short enough to get up close to keep track of every stroke and how much tooth is filed. The blades we use are 1” to 1.5” long (rather than the standard 3 inch length) for precision on every tooth.
WE DO NOT USE POWER TOOLS Like making a fine piece of furniture, you don’t use a chainsaw. Power tools do a great deal of damage to equine tooth composition and structure. Power instruments change the make up of the tooth due to the heat they produce. They also cause the teeth to become very brittle. This type of work stops normal function of the tooth and alters the centric relation of the TMJ. The power tool runs hot and takes off too much tooth in an instant. A horse’s tooth erupts until age 25 when there is no more eruption. With too much power tool work over the years, a 15 year old might be at the end of eruption. The heat from the instrument causes the tooth to become brittle like glazed pottery and more fractures might occur. The heat also stops the tooth from laying down secondary dentin which can lead to fractures.
SENIOR HORSES It is our philosophy not to work on horses in their 20’s and we will explain how it can harm and even kill them. Our certified professionals however will check your older horse and give you advice on how to give them better nutrition and a diet that is appropriate to their dental needs and abilities.
natural balance equine dental specialist