Can I check teeth myself? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: West Virginia
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Can I check teeth myself?

Last week (I think...) I had the vet come out and do vaccines and coggins, and I wanted him to check my two 5yr old's teeth to see if they needed floated. He said not to worry about it until they were seven, but I wanted him to check anyway. Well.... between my horses, my mother in laws, and uncles (8 horses)... we both forgot to check them until he was printing the bill. I said we forgot and he said oops, but never offered to check them before he left. It was $90 for him to come out, and I really dont want to spend that again for him to come out feel in there and tell me no.... but I will if I have to, but I'm wondering:

Can I check their teeth myself? We had two older ones just floated and that vet (Mother in law uses different guy), showed me, but honestly their teeth weren't that bad (he even said). I read where I can hold their head and move their jaw back and forth and listen for the grinding... I am not scared to put my hand in their mouths, but I have never noticed any sharp spots really.... Can anyone go into detail about what exactly and where I should be focusing on?

If anything I'm going to take them to the other vet bc they have a stable and save little money on the farm visit!

Angels are people who can see and feel the pain in all creatures... -myself
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post #2 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: West Virginia
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Anyone? I guess I'm making another vet appt... Just hate to have spend money for the extra visit when I just had everything BUT that done! Maybe I can get my vet to stop out and void the visit fee since he was supposed to do it at the last one?

Angels are people who can see and feel the pain in all creatures... -myself
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post #3 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 03:34 AM
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Location: British Columbia
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My vet showed me how to check, but I'm not sure I can explain it well... putting your hands alongside the jaw and pushing your thumbs up so you're pushing their cheeks into their upper teeth, if there's discomfort, sharp edges, etc. your horses will let you know, as well as checking for the grinding. I'd also pull their cheeks back and shine a flashlight in there to check for rubs, and check their tongues.

That said, I'm not sure why you would wait until seven? Anybody else have insight? I've never heard of that...
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post #4 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 03:34 AM
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I always double check and get in their mouths. Had my vet come out once, say everything is fine, only for me to get in there and find one hell of a sharp point right on the bit! O.O

I kind of wing it, but hold onto the halter and then stick your fingers up and feel along their gums. Kind of massage it a little instead of just poking. See if there's anything there, and then while their mouth is open just kinda feather over their teeth. You'll be able to feel if there is anything sharp.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 03:36 AM
Green Broke
Join Date: Feb 2010
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I'd get a new Vet. While *some* horses might not need their teeth done until age 7, the vast majority will need theirs done several times before then.

My gelding is six and has had his done twice since I got him at the age of 4 and at least once prior to that.
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post #6 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 05:31 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: West Virginia
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Thanks for the answers! I will to check myself, but I actually found a equine dentist in my area (didnt think I would-rural area) that have great prices! He doesnt even sedate usually! The site does say that I can get anesthesia from my vet (that is questionable to me.... I dont see that happening).... But his prices are awesome! I'm excited to give him a try! The thing with my vet that I have is very simple. I chose him bc whenever I have an emergency, he's there! Lots of other reasons for choosing him over the others including two great ones stopped doing large animals, problems with nurses having attitudes, not caring to contact the doctor during emergencies, not bothering to call back, the doctor having an attiude with someone calling him during THEIR emergemcy and me not liking the response he gave them! And when YOUR vet tells you to call another vet (grinds my gears!).... But ANYWAY, I did and he came right out! So that's why I chose him, lol....I think I'm going to try this Equine Dentist! I'm excited about it now! He seems to know his stuff and has great references!

Angels are people who can see and feel the pain in all creatures... -myself

Last edited by Wheatermay; 05-11-2013 at 05:34 AM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 11:36 AM
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Kansas
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My trainer was a vet tech for years, and she ALWAYS used an equine dentist. Until she started working with the vet she's with now. She says he's very good with teeth, and she also told me she was pretty surprised by this.

Learning never stops
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post #8 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 12:00 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Cariboo, British Columbia
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You can check for any majorly obvious sharp points but there is no way to properly check without the horse being tranq'ed and having a mouth opener and lights. After using equine vets that are specifically trained trained in dentistry and seeing what other vets have missed using a hand float, I wouldn't waste my money on anything else. It is a million times more technical than filing down sharp points, and the way the horse seeks out bit contact after a proper float is a million times better as well. I pay $200 for a proper float, that is without a call out fee as I haul in because this kind of float requires stocks with an overhead bar to hoist the horse's head up.
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post #9 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 12:39 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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I check and do mine myself with a rasp (made for mouths/teeth).
I have to go buy a rasp currently, but I know how to do it.

I just stick my hand right in my mare's mouth and feel all of her teeth for points. They're noticable if you know what you're feeling for, and the big ones are noticable regardless of if you have or not.

But, I'd be more worried about getting a good float than wasting money on a vet that only has the iffy, general knowledge. Since I'm not wasting money on a crappy job by doing it myself, I don't go to an equine dentist. But, if I couldn't do it myself (the general float that the majority of horse owners use their vet for), I'd be paying for the best to do it at their facility, likes wares noted.
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post #10 of 17 Old 05-11-2013, 01:54 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
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Advertising that they don't use drugs is not a good thing IMO. I have seen very few horses that will permit a good job to be done on the back teeth without them. I suspect that whomever isn't using drugs may (or may not) be getting the front hooks and points done alright, but I'll bet money they're doing a poor to non-existent job on the teeth in the rear of the mouth. I wouldn't waste my money. When my horse gets his teeth done, he gets drugs, we do them, and we do them right so that he will be good to go for the next year or two. No point in wasting money on a quack, stressing my horse out, and still having sharp hooks at the back that are going to hurt when my guy thinks about actually flexing properly at the poll and having to re-float him in 6 months. JMO based on the people we have around here...
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