Corrective and Performance Dentistry

Dr. Johnson performs corrective
dentistry with the Power Float

Excellent dental care is emphasized at Northeast Pennsylvania Equine Clinic. Dental care is important to keep your horse healthy and in good body condition with improved utilization of food, to improve your horse's comfort and performance, and may even prolong his or her life by 3 or more years. Dental problems can contribute to choke and colic.

Obvious indicators of teeth problems include:

  • Loss of body condition
  • Feed dropping
  • Grain or long stems in the manure
  • Head tilting or tossing
  • Swelling of the face
  • Bad breath
  • Nasal discharge
  • Some behavioral problems
  • Poor performance

Many horses adapt to their discomfort and chewing limitations and show no noticeable signs of teeth problems. Therefore, teeth should be examined every 6-12 months. Dental examinations and procedures are performed at our clinic or your stable. Routine maintenance of a horse's teeth has been historically referred to as "floating". Floating removes the sharp enamel points. Occlusal equilibration is the term now used to describe floating and correcting other dental problems such as:

  • Sharp enamel points forming on cheek teeth, causing lacerations of the cheeks and tongue
  • Retained caps (deciduous "baby" teeth that are not shed)
  • Discomfort caused by bit contact with the wolf teeth
  • Long and/or sharp canine (bridle) teeth interfering with the insertion or removal of the bit
  • Lost and/or broken teeth
  • Abnormal or uneven bite planes
  • Excessively worn teeth
  • Abnormally long teeth
  • Infected teeth and/or gums
  • Misalignment/poor apposition (bite)
  • Periodontal (gum) disease

Foals should be checked for dental abnormalities existing from birth. Yearlings may have sharp enamel points that damage their cheeks and tongue. Wolf teeth that could interfere and cause pain with the bit, are best removed at this age. Teeth should be floated and retained caps (baby teeth that are not shed) removed before two and three year olds enter training. To prevent problems with eruption of permanent teeth semi-annual exams are appropriate between birth and five years of age. Adult teeth continue to erupt throughout life and are worn down by chewing. Regular examinations and corrections as needed will keep your horse's mouth comfortable and functioning properly and will help prevent periodontal disease and premature loss of teeth. A horse's performance is enhanced with a balanced and comfortable mouth with free jaw movement.

Sedatives, local anesthetics and analgesics (pain relievers) relax and keep the horse more comfortable during floating and other dental procedures. Such drugs should be administered only by a veterinarian. Doctor Johnson and her associate veterinarians have the equipment, knowledge and experience to practice dentistry safely with great regard for the horse's comfort.

Dr. Edward Early of Williamsport PA , a nationally-known equine veterinary dental specialist brings his services to NPEC for cases requiring advanced dentistry such as surgical extractions, medical and or surgical treatment of periodontal disease, or root canals.


Northeast Pennsylvania Equine Clinic, LLC.

4326 State Route 1001, Thompson, PA 18465
Office: 570.727.2868 Fax: 570.727.2935
Office Hours: M-Th 7:30am-4:30pm, F 8am-4:30pm, Sat by appointment

A+ Rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB)