Advanced Whole Horse Dentistry
Spencer LaFlure, EqD., DDS
869 High Street, Athol, NY 12810
518-623-9967

The Informed Consumer

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  • Why do I want a Natural Balance Dentist?
    For the past hundred years dentistry has treated symptoms (i.e. the points, so the horse would eat better). Natural Balance Dentistry (NBD) is not so much about eating, although they will eat better, as it is about posture, stride length, body mass (topline) and movement.
    Everyone files off the points on the outside of the top molars and the inside of the bottom molars. Most don’t even touch the front teeth. They say they do this because the cheeks get lacerated from the sharp points that develop. What the owners don’t realize or the people doing the filing, for that matter, is that a few months after the points are filed down, they come back again because the cause of why the develop in the first place is not fixed. The root of the problem is the Temporal Mandibular Joint or TMJ is NOT CENTERED!!
    A properly balanced jaw moves in a down, out, up and in motion. When the TMJ is not centered the jaw moves in an up and down only motion causing excessive points to develop.
    But points are not the only thing that develops. There are other protrusions that come about because of this movement. They are referred to by dentists as hooks, ramps, Accentuated Transverse Ridging (ATR), etc. So the dentist or vet says “I was taught to take down all of these protrusions and make the top of all the molars flat and the sides rounded to take off the points.” All Schools teaching dentistry teach this method. They all start with the molars first then go to the incisors, some don’t even do the incisors. Some also but in a bit seat (cutting off half of the first few molars on the top and bottom to “make room for the bit”).
    The dentist then says, “in order to do all this work I really should sedate this horse.” Others don’t want to sedate so they just go in and file a few points and protrusions and call it good.
    The ones who sedate will use the regular large and long needle and a large amount of a combination of drugs to keep the horse heavily sedated. Most combinations of drugs tend to have some side effects. Because this horse is heavily sedated, someone or something is used to hold up the horses’ head to work on it. (Usually a person, sling, stand, crossties or crutch are the tool of choice.) Some people even put the horse in stocks to keep them still. Then there are those that use the standard long handle float with the three inch blade on the end and other figure because there is so much tooth to take off, they use the power instruments. Power instruments change the make-up of the teeth due to the heat they produce. They also cause the teeth to become very brittle.
    It’s a proven fact that every Veterinarian college and every dental school in the world is teaching and practicing exactly what was mentioned above. They will tell you that this form of dentistry helps the horse with eating and to perform better. Guess what…..it will, to an extent, BUT, you know what???? It will only last for a few months and then, as they say, ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE, and the body of the horse starts to fall apart. From atrophy of the topline to problems going left or right, to problems with lead changes, lame nesses, posturing, head tilting and some horses (mainly those in their 20’s from the TMJ being compromised and fragile) will even die.
    The sad part to this is that no one puts two and two together to see that these horses are breaking down or even dying and that it has anything to do with the dentistry. These people are entitled to their own opinions. They are NOT entitled to their own facts. We are here to tell you that it is so and we have proven it over and over again.
    THE BIG SECRET IS IN THE TMJ AND THE INCISORS!!
    The TMJ needs to be centered and it needs to be stable. Muscles and teeth properly aligned keep it that way.
    Natural Balance Dentistry is based on years of research and proven facts. Our research, that is, and not the double blind study that comes from the colleges and vet schools because they think we are quacks and won’t even listen to us. However, we have proven it with hundreds of horses and their owners who truly
    know their horses. People like Mark Rashid, Tom Curtin, Linda and Pat Parelli, to name a few and people who are in the performance world.
    NBD starts with balancing the incisors first to the length and angle of a five year old horse because horses in the wild keep the same length and angle throughout their entire life due to gazing on grasses rich in silica or abrasives. Precision is a MUST and must fit each horse (some have twisted noses and missing or deformed incisors) so one size does not fit all.
    We then proceed to balancing the molar tables to precise angles. The angles of the molar tables are the exact opposite angle of the condyle in the TMJ. We do not flatten the molar tables but leave texture for proper movement of the jaw and for proper chewing. Most importantly of all, left molar table angle equals right table angles and all teeth fit together precisely and anatomically correct to each individual horse.
    Teeth are really calcified nerves so all contact is a must to turn on all nerve circuits. Just like fine tuning an engine in race cars so that all pistons, plugs etc. run precise, so it is in NBD. All angles and tooth surfaces meeting must be precise. We liken this procedure to cutting a fine diamond. In order to have quality, all angles must be precise. You wouldn’t cut a diamond on a vibrating wheel. It must be still just like a horse that is mildly sedated and quiet rather than squirming around. We use a very minute amount of one kind of sedation with no side effects; like having one beer vs. the standard of everyone else’s 3 Jack Daniels. When we’re finished balancing the mouth the horse is fully awake and ready to be ridden or trailered if needed.
    Again, if you want precision you have to be right there on top of what you’re balancing, not a foot away. Like making a fine piece of furniture, you don’t use a chainsaw. Why would you use a Dremel or electric instruments when you can’t see or feel what you’re doing? One swipe takes too much off right away, not to mention making the teeth brittle from the heat.
    Our hand held instruments are configured to fit comfortably into the horses’ mouth and short enough to get up close to keep track of every stroke and how much tooth is filed. The blades we use are 1” to 1 ½ “long instead of 3” long for precision on every tooth.
    As we mentioned, precision is a must! All angles must be perfectly balanced and equal in order to center the TMJ. Why is this so important, because the trigeminal nerve runs through the TMJ? This nerve houses many other nerves that govern movements of the body such as where the legs are positioned, how they move, how they feel, stride, balance and many other things we haven’t even researched yet. But, we have proven that if this jaw is off center it pinches the nerve and short circuits some of these body movements resulting in short strides, not standing square, difficulty in taking leads, balance, body structure or muscle atrophy, lameness and the list goes on and on.
    A NBD is trained to look at your horse from the outside and tell you what is going on with the teeth and body without even looking in the horses’ mouth.
    In short, don’t pick a dentist just by the fact that they have all the latest electrical instruments or don’t use sedations or that they are a vet. (Would you go to your MD to get your teeth fixed?) The best vet school in the world has a total of 10-20 hours on the subject of dentistry and that is on filing the points and protrusions but they don’t learn what that affect. Don’t even get someone who tells you that the horses has many hooks and ramps and ATR, etc. and the proceeds to let you “feel” all of them.
    Get someone who has certified in Natural Balance Dentistry with over 600 hours of study and research. Get someone that knows how to perfectly balance the angles of the teeth to balance the TMJ and who will say NO to working on horses in the twenties and explain how it can harm and even kill them, but will check them and give you advice on how to give them better nutrition.
    Get someone who knows how to truly balance your horses’ teeth, TMJ and entire body. After all, teeth are related to posture as well as eating. No matter what you do to them in the form of dentistry, they will still eat but they won’t maintain good movement or body mass. You decide, but for your horses’ sake, decide WISELY!
    PS… for those of you who read this and who still choose someone other than a Certified Natural Balance Dentist (one that holds the photo ID card from the Advanced Whole Horse Dentistry Learning Center), don’t be surprised when (in about 6 months or so down the road) your horse starts to display signs of breaking
    down. Signs like muscle atrophy along the topline and flanks, certain unexplained lameness, not standing straight and square, not picking up the correct leads, back problems, head problems and weight loss. Then we can tell you, WE TOLD YOU SO.
    If you choose a Natural Balance Dentist make sure that they have a current photo ID that says they are in good standing with the Advanced Whole Horse Dentistry School. These cards are issued once a year to Level 4, 5 and certified students only. Or, you can contact us to be sure.
    The bottom line is that it is all about the topline of your horse. What you should be looking for in dentistry is NOT an equine dentist but rather a Neuromuscular Natural Balance Dentist from Advanced Whole Horse Learning Center.

    Neuromuscular Natural Balance Dentistry The other guys            
    Center TMJ by balancing all angles of teethto fit perfectly on both sides of the mouthand leaving texture to the teeth. File off points and protrusions usually making the molar tables flat and round. This makes the TMJ unstable. They don’t create proper and perfect table angles equal on both sides of the mouth 
    Start with incisors first to set up length andangle of a 5 year old then go to the molarsfiling only certain protrusions, leavingtexture and perfect contact. Star with the molars then goto the incisors making gaps inteeth connections.
    Mild sedation for 95% of horses using horsefriendly techniques with head relaxed ingrazing position also use horsemanshipskills Most often use heavy sedationhave to hang head or propthem up. Horsemanship isoften lacking.
    Will assess your horse and its problems of movement before getting into the mouth. Don’t know how to assesshorses’ problems and imbalances of the body.
    Will produce immediate results in the horses’comfort, body movement, posture andperformance (often noticeable as soon as theyare ridden and lasting at least a year) Total mass and topline improvement seen in two weeks Will produce some results aftera few days lasting only 3 months or so then the body and performance fall apart. Muscle atrophy and lameness will appear in 6-8 months.