Pictured Left to Right:
Dr. Justin Phillips, Dr. Toots Banner and "Squirt"
The Equine Medical Center of Ocala, in a continuing effort to provide high-quality, full-service veterinary care for our clients, is pleased to announce that equine dentistry is now available. Drs. Justin Phillips, Toots Banner, and Aric Adams will offer a complete range of equine dentistry, from routine floating and dental equilibration to extractions on the farm and surgical procedures at the hospital. Most of you are probably familiar with Drs. Phillips and Adams, but may not know Dr. Banner. Dr. Banner graduated from the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1987, and teaches dentistry to veterinary students at the University of Florida and dentistry programs for veterinarians. In addition to his work as an instructor, Dr. Banner has provided ambulatory dental services in Marion and Alachua counties for the past 10 years. Drs. Banner and Phillips will be offering farm calls to perform dental services, and Dr. Adams will be performing dental surgeries at our hospital.
The first age to check a horse’s teeth is within the first two weeks of life. It is uncommon that any dental procedures would be done at this time, but if a deformity (such as “parrot mouth” or an under-bite) is discovered, then a plan of action for correction can be established. It is important to have the horse examined prior to training (usually at 18-24 months) to balance the mouth and remove any wolf teeth. The deciduous “baby” teeth can be incredibly sharp and irregular, which can cause bitting issues. If you add a tie-down or any other training aid that causes the cheek to be pushed against these sharp teeth, it’s very likely that training issues, such as head tossing, will develop. Abnormalities will only continue to worsen throughout a horse’s lifetime if a thorough exam is not performed and corrective measures are not instituted while a horse is young. Older horses frequently have the most severe dental problems, and many dental irregularities that exist in their mouths have probably been there since the permanent teeth erupted. Unfortunately, this means that they have probably ground against each other for years, which exaggerates any irregularities and makes correction more difficult.
Patience and balance are the keys to getting and keeping your horse’s mouth comfortable. All horses need thorough dental exams and maintenance yearly. Some require more frequent procedures, either due to untreated irregularities or in the case of a horse with significant issues that cannot be fully corrected in a single visit. Dentistry should be considered a regular part of you horse’s oral care just as the farrier is a regular part of your horse’s hoof care.Technology is improving, with better and safer equipment being developed each year. Drs. Phillips, Banner, and Adams are excited to offer clients cutting-edge treatment for their horse’s teeth, in our continuing effort to provide the best care for our clients.
To make an appointment or discuss your equine dentistry needs, call Dr. Justin Phillips at 352-266-1720.