Finer Points of Floating
The most common procedure in field dentistry will be floating the teeth to remove the sharp enamel points on the buccal aspect of the maxillary teeth and on the lingual aspect of the mandibular teeth.

Performance Dentistry
Performance Dentistry is often thought of as performing additional procedures as in carefully and minimally rounding the rostral and buccal borders of the 06’s to create a bit seat which is more comfortable to the lips and oral mucosa pushed to this area by a bit. Removal of wolf teeth also falls into this category. For many horses the real need for these procedures may be argued. Overzealous creation of bit seats may expose pulp horns and lead to devitalized teeth.

To perform these procedures in a manner safe for both patient and operator, the horse must be adequately sedated and restrained. In the field, a box stall is adequate. Place the horse with his hindquarters in a corner and support the head with a head stand. I don’t like to use a head suspension ring unless a stocks is available. Although there is still need for skill with manual hand floats the following description will be for the PowerFloat for routine floating.

After rinsing and examining the mouth (examination procedure covered elsewhere) and full mouth speculum in place, the floating procedure begins with allowing the horse to hear the motorized float. Hold the handle grip of the float in the right hand, the float shaft in the left hand and insert the working end into the mouth. Slowly accelerate the motor without touching any teeth. Commonly, this will be without incident.

Start grinding with the rotary diamond burr on the buccal aspect in the middle of the left upper (200) arcade using moderate pressure with the float at about 50% speed. If well tolerated, increase to 75% speed and proceed caudally with the head of the float at a 45 degree angle to the occlusal surface of the tooth. Use a rocking motion along the long axis of the float to create a rounded edge as the sharp enamel points are removed. You will actually be pushing the buccal tissue away from the teeth with the back side of the float as you go. Pay close attention to the points on the caudal 211 which can be missed. Moving rostrally along the arcade, the position of the shaft will be moved medially to accommodate the curvature of the arcade. Also it is generally necessary to switch hands and come across the oral cavity from the opposite side to adequately reduce the points on the rostral 206 and begin the bit seat if desired. An assistant may retract the cheek with a finger or small retractor at the commissure of the lips when floating the 206.

The 100 arcade is treated in a similar fashion, but with the handle grip in the left hand and the shaft being guided by the right hand.

Rotate the shaft of the PowerFloat 180 degrees to begin on the 400 arcade. The left hand is on the pistol grip and the shaft is guided by the right hand. Start in the middle of the arcade and work caudally and then rostrally with the disc at a 45 degree angle and rotating it to make a rounded edge as you remove the enamel points from the lingual surface. The back of your hand barricades the tongue from the float.

During the procedure, rinse the mouth frequently for the comfort of the horse and ease of movement of the float. Remember to keep the disc moving and never stay on one site for more than 15 seconds so that thermal damage is avoided. Constant water infusion and suction connections would be an advantage. Also keep the disc clean with a stiff bristle brush kept in your rinse bucket to maximize cutting performance and reduce heat build-up. Do not immerse the disc in the water.

Having completed all 4 arcades, visually and manually examine each tooth for proper result.

If incisor reduction is required, this is done by removing the full mouth speculum and using a cylindrical speculum inserted into the inter-dental space. Operator preference determines the best way to reduce the incisors, but my preference is to hold the grip in my right hand, use the fingers of my left hand to support the disc, while guiding the disc with my thumb on the labial surface.

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