As a horse owner and professional, I would say I know a fair bit more than your average horse owner about dentistry. With a brief refresher, I could name every tooth in a horse's mouth by number and quadrant. I can recognize pathologies visually from the outside as well as the inside of a horse's mouth, I can evaluate my dentist for exactly the things that I want to have worked on, and I can tell whether or not I've been duped by someone who is floating my horse's teeth. Everything my dentist had to say about my horse's mouth and issues aligned exactly with what I expected to hear, and the way she handled her speculum and tools made me very happy. She only opened the speculum for as long as she needed to to get in and out for each particular part of the adjustment, and then she shut it and let Pangea's TMJ relax. (If your dentist makes your horse sit with a fully opened speculum in her mouth for any lengthy period of time, run away and get a new dentist!!) She also worked for part of the time while kneeling, which was great for Pangea as she didn't have to crank her head up to the ceiling and stress out her already unhappy TMJ and atlas/axis. She did, unfortunately, have to be sedated THREE times during the procedure... she kept waking up! (Just like her daddy, that one... we had to cocktail the crap out of him repeatedly during every procedure we ever had to do with him. Gogo, on the other hand, was a classic lightweight and would be swaying on her feet with less than a quarter of the drugs needed to quiet horses twice her size. Cheap date.)
Pangea had some pretty obvious TMJ issues going on, which I suspected and discussed in my dental post a few weeks ago. Her left temporalis muscle - the big lumpy one - corresponded to the fact that she had actually been floated sometime in the recent past... but the whackadoo that did her left her entire right molar arcade completely out of occlusion save for one single molar in the back of her mouth that was eternally too high and damaging the opposing lower molar! She was working overtime to make the rest of those teeth touch, and she couldn't. The left side of her mouth had just enough occlusion and sharp points on the edges of her molars that pieces of her cheek were slipping inbetween them and getting torn up pretty badly. (Hmm, wonder why she was having trouble with left bend.) Her incisors, unlike her over-floated molars, were at far too steep of an angle and had been completely untouched by the previous dentist. When chewing, she had no free-floating motion of her mandible (which they need for oral health), so her incisors were receiving uneven wear and actually had something of a ventral smile to them. No bueno!
Drugged and standing quietly with a closed speculum.... no unnecessary cranking open here!
Molar adjustments. Taking away the sharp hooks and working out two molars that were totally missed by the last guy and were standing WAY too tall compared to all her other teeth!
She is chewing SO much better now!
Unfortunately, I have not been back on her to see how she feels under saddle. The weather has completely failed me in the fact that it suddenly out of nowhere became 100F every day with unusually blazing humidity, and Pangea is suffering for it. She is lathered in sweat every day when I go out to see her, and she is losing weight. We've also had several huge rainstorms offset by some desperately dry weather, and her feet are struggling to keep up with the changes. She is exceedingly footsore on any type of terrain that isn't her paddock (nice sandy loam), and it is to the point that it is negatively affecting her body. On top of all of that, she needs another chiro adjustment - due to the amount of dental work she needed, her entire body is back out of whack again. We're basically at a standstill until we get readjusted and help her feet out. I have a little something up my sleeve for her which I will wait to discuss until we get to try it out, but I'm hoping that with a little bit of time off and some general light maintenance and fixing-up, we can get over this little blip in the road and continue on. Everything had been pretty upwards until now, so I think it will only be a short matter of time until things are back to running smoothly again.
This heat sucks!!