PowerFloat – Equine Dentistry Product
PowerFloat – A brief history of the origins followed by in-depth product details.
Dennis Rach was a partner in the 16 veterinarian practice of Moore Equine Veterinary Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He has been in large animal practice with the equine veterinary firm continuously since 1970. As a practitioner, Dr. Rach designed several rotary equine instruments during the 1980s to deliver a higher level of dental care to the equine patient. Other equine veterinary practitioners were also in need of the same type of equipment, so Dr. Rach engaged the services of local machinists to make rotary instruments for other veterinarians.
During the mid-1990s Dr. Rach designed a motorized right angle-shaped floating device. This device worked better than he had expected. The unit stood the durability testing and functioned very well over the next few years, so he pursued the development and refinement of this new design. A patent was obtained for the new equine dental equipment and the production and sales of the PowerFloat began with its introduction to veterinarians at the AAEP meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2000. Over the next 2 years, the initial core of equine veterinarians who purchased the PowerFloat recommended it to other fellow practitioners and the use of the instrument spread throughout the USA and Canada. As well North America, the Powerfloat began to be sold and serviced through distributors in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
Since the introduction of the PowerFloat, equine vet practitioners throughout the world have helped Dr. Rach make improvements and additions to the basic model. New equine dentistry procedures and techniques have been developed and new instrumentation continues to be added to the PowerFloat to deliver safe, superior dental care to the horse.
There are some key design features of the PowerFloat compared with some other entrants into motorized dentistry.
1. Narrow, low-profile right-angle design:
The ability to maneuver the instrument head and be able to do reductions in the rear portion of the mouth where space is limited, especially in smaller horses, is very important. The image below illustrates working restrictions due to tight cheeks and the short distance between the chewing surface between the upper and lower cheek teeth. In most mature riding horses, the space between the chewing surface of the rear upper and lower cheek teeth is around 3 to 3 1/2 cm. (1 1/3 inches). However, if abnormal wear patterns of the teeth occur, (hooks and ramps) the working space can be much smaller. Furthermore, the cheeks push tightly against the upper teeth which limits the ability to tilt the head of a grinding instrument at a 45-degree angle to reduce sharp points of enamel (overgrowths) on the cheek side of the upper teeth. These sharp points must be removed to prevent them from causing cuts into the cheek.
As illustrated above, the PowerFloat right angle heads of the guarded and unguarded shafts are very narrow at the base and have a height of around 15/16th of an inch. The small height is critical, but the narrow base of the right angle is also important. The narrow base (white line near red arrow above) allows the base to be tilted sideways just enough to slip past the opposite rear teeth to allow access to various parts of the chewing surface even where the space between the upper and lower rear teeth is less than an inch.
Drawing of PowerFloat right angle head tilted to access the narrow distance between teeth.
Images below show the right-angle head tilted past a tight space from the opposing cheek tooth at the rear of the mouth where the working room between the upper and lower cheek teeth can get very narrow. It is not possible to do this maneuver with dental heads which have a wide base.
The bevel gears inside the shaft of the PowerFloat right angle are made of hardened carbon steel which is nitrided for extra wear protection. The gears are not made of stainless steel because stainless steel is a much softer material and wears much more quickly. Since carbon steel is used, the gears require periodic lubrication with grease. The PowerFloat right angle has 2 grease ports (one for the shaft bearing and 1 for the bevel gears). On average the PowerFloat bevel gears last between 1100 to 1500 dental procedures before requiring servicing. The other motorized instruments on the market use softer, stainless steel bevel gears. These instruments wear out much faster and require repairs much more frequently than PowerFloat.
The image below shows a Florida equine veterinarian holding her 17-year-old PowerFloat which has continued to run without any repairs.
3. Chamfer Burr Advantages:
Many veterinarians are able to do the majority of equine dentistry procedures with the guarded right- angle shaft using the diamond disc. With some smaller horses, access to the sharp enamel points on the cheek side of the upper teeth can be difficult with the guarded right angle. Also with some horses, the rear part of the cheek presses tightly against the outside of the upper teeth where excessive sharp enamel points occur. So many veterinarians also purchase the unguarded right-angle attachment with the guarded chamfer burr (guarded, diamond, 45- degree reverse cone burr).
The unguarded right angle is rotated to a 90-degree angle to the long axis of the shaft so that the chamfer burr is able to pass down the outer or inner edge of the rows of teeth (dental arcade). In this configuration, the slim chamfer burr (45-degree reverse cone shape) is able to easily slide along the outside of the upper teeth and grind off sharp enamel points along the outside edge of those upper teeth. The guarded burr is so thin, it easily fits in the space between the cheek and the outside edge of the rear teeth. The chamfer is also used to remove sharp enamel points which occur on the inside edge of the lower cheek teeth. This burr removes sharp points very efficiently.
Note: The chamfer configures a large, thin circle on the outside of the upper rear cheek teeth where sharp enamel points occur. It easily fits into the tight space and because the wheel is larger than an apple core burr, the outer cutting-edge spins faster and removes sharp points much faster than a smaller apple core burr. The chamfer is also used to remove sharp enamel ridges on the inside of the lower cheek teeth. The same PowerFloat unguarded right angle also accepts a small apple core burr to do similar procedures in miniature horses and donkeys.
4. Variety of choices of motors and attachments:
Allows veterinarians to do complete dentistry on all sizes of horses, including miniature horses and donkeys.
The pistol grip motor, balanced with shafts allows veterinarians to do equine dentistry procedures with optimal ergonomic stances which greatly reduces operator fatigue.
Observe the stance allowed by using a pistol grip with a balanced shaft. The stance is called the “eagle position” and is utilized during sporting events and with workers doing repetitive work. This stance tends to prevent personal fatigue and physical injury of veterinarians who do large numbers of dental cases.
By comparison, when veterinarians use a straight-shaft floating device, they are forced to assume unnatural physical positions to visualize the float head during dental procedures.
6. Lighting the working area:
PowerFloat uses a powerful battery-operated LED light which magnetically attaches to the front of the upper bite plates of a mouth speculum. The PowerLite IV compact, water-resistant design makes this product the most reliable and convenient light source available to practicing Equine Veterinarians. The PowerLite illuminates the entire mouth, and the light can be concentrated on any area of the mouth by simply changing positions.
The PowerFloat attachments and burr selections allow veterinarians to do dentistry in a variety of other species, from giraffes to goats, swine and miniature donkeys.
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