Natural Balance Dentistry®: The Future of Equine Dental Care
I’ve been studying Equine Dentistry for about a decade and learning something new every day.
In the first few years of my study and application, it was from other people’s research & development that we all relied on, but I found out that most of that information, other than terminology, did not fit the horse at all. I believe that Equine Dentistry, when done properly, with natural balance in mind must have its point of beginning with the front teeth.
Neurologically speaking, the relationship of the anatomical alignment of the TMJ and the incisors to the body should be our goal. I proved in a thesis that the natural length and angle of incisors along with the restored neurological signal to the teeth and motion of the TMJ will maintain or increase muscle mass in the body of the horse. Natural balance of the Equine mouth is more related to motion and mass than what we have been led to believe. Also critical is the centric relationship of the TMJ and neurologically correct communication of teeth through bite planes as it anatomically fits the horse!
Another part of my studies has evolved over the past years on our own ranch. Being able to see top line changes in our own horses and realizing these transformations were brought on by rebooting the neurology of the stomatognathic system, through re-establishing the curve of Cameron, anatomically correct the centric relation of the TMJ, and allowing the function, dynamically speaking. We could see young and old horses would maintain and improve overall body mass and performance. We continue our research here at our ranch on the positive effects Natural Balance Dentistry® has on the performance of the horses.
Our focus is placed on the Whole Horse. When we are introduced to a horse who needs dental work, we assess the whole horse first. We look at the body, legs, and feet in addition to the teeth. It all connects!
If we take Nascar as an example: In order for the race cars to run at peak performance, a PIT CREW is used. Each professional, specializing in a certain area (bodywork, mechanics, electrician, tires, etc.) works with the team, in conjunction with the crew chief. In order for the horse to be at the peak of its performance and in the best shape health wise, they too need a (pit crew) team of professionals, in conjunction with a veterinarian, working together with each in their area of expertise. In other words, in addition to learning dentistry that actually fits the horse, you will also learn a portion of other modalities (how the head, neck, body, and feet are all connected with, and affected by the teeth). This will better enable the student to make a more educated evaluation as to whether or not the horse needs dentistry or body work, or trimming. The Student will then know after doing dentistry, what parts of the body and feet will change and how.
We also teach our students (dentists as well as veterinarians) how to interact with each other and their clients on a professional and complementary basis.
Keeping this in mind, Natural Balance Dentistry® Concepts (beginning to advanced) are taught, based on the idea of working on incisors first with angles adjusted over time.
- Our students are taught better use of horse handling to keep the horse calm and working with you.
- The horse is allowed to put its head low to the ground in a natural position during the procedure – Therefore our students learn to work while kneeling down and to follow the feel of the horse allowing the horse to be in whatever position that will make him most comfortable.
- Ergonomically redesigned hand-held instruments only are used. These were tested to be less disturbing to the horse as well as fitting individual teeth and lessen the possibility of soft tissue damage or compromising neurological communication of teeth and body.