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Effect of dental floating on the rostrocaudal mobility of the mandible of horses

James L. Carmalt MA, VetMB, MVetSc1, Hugh G. G. Townsend DVM, MSc2, and Andrew L. Allen DVM, MVetSc, PhD3
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  • 1 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.
  • | 2 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.
  • | 3 Department of Veterinary Pathology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5B4, Canada.

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effect of dental floating on the position of the mandible relative to the maxilla (a measure of rostrocaudal mobility [RCM] of the mandible) during extension and flexion of the head of horses.

Design—Randomized controlled blinded trial.

Animals—59 horses housed in 1 barn.

Procedure—Horses were formally randomized into a treatment (n = 33) or control (26) group. All horses were sedated, and the distance between rostral portions of the upper and lower incisor arcades were determined with the head fully extended and flexed at the poll (the difference in measurements represented the RCM of the mandible). The oral cavity was examined. For the treatment group, dental floating was performed, and the incisor arcade measurements were repeated.

Results—Dental correction resulted in a significant increase in RCM of the mandible in 31 of 33 horses. The mobility was greater in heavy horses than that detected in other breed classifications. Age and number of dental lesions did not significantly affect mobility before or after dental floating.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dental floating increased RCM of the mandible, but measurement of this variable was not an indicator of the number or extent of dental lesions, and no specific dental abnormality appeared to significantly affect RCM of the mandible in horses. In horses, measurement of RCM of the mandible can be used as a guide to determine whether dental correction is necessary; after dental floating, it can be used to ensure that irregularities of the occlusal surface have been corrected. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:666–669)

Abstract

Objective—To evaluate the effect of dental floating on the position of the mandible relative to the maxilla (a measure of rostrocaudal mobility [RCM] of the mandible) during extension and flexion of the head of horses.

Design—Randomized controlled blinded trial.

Animals—59 horses housed in 1 barn.

Procedure—Horses were formally randomized into a treatment (n = 33) or control (26) group. All horses were sedated, and the distance between rostral portions of the upper and lower incisor arcades were determined with the head fully extended and flexed at the poll (the difference in measurements represented the RCM of the mandible). The oral cavity was examined. For the treatment group, dental floating was performed, and the incisor arcade measurements were repeated.

Results—Dental correction resulted in a significant increase in RCM of the mandible in 31 of 33 horses. The mobility was greater in heavy horses than that detected in other breed classifications. Age and number of dental lesions did not significantly affect mobility before or after dental floating.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Dental floating increased RCM of the mandible, but measurement of this variable was not an indicator of the number or extent of dental lesions, and no specific dental abnormality appeared to significantly affect RCM of the mandible in horses. In horses, measurement of RCM of the mandible can be used as a guide to determine whether dental correction is necessary; after dental floating, it can be used to ensure that irregularities of the occlusal surface have been corrected. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:666–669)