The main aim of equine dentistry is similar to that of human dentistry; preventative care.

Put simply, the main reason many people go to dentists is not because they have a problem, but to prevent problems from forming or at least to treat a problem at its earliest onset. When horses have regular dental maintenance, in most cases any imbalances or problems that may have begun to form can easily be rectified in one treatment.

However many major dental problems encountered by horses, such as significant imbalances, misalignments and periodontal disease (disease affecting the supporting structures of a tooth) are slow in their progression, often over years.  This can mean that often by the time a problem manifests itself so that it is obviously apparent without the need for a dental examination, the condition may have already been present for a length of time.

Although it is often possible to stop the progression of the problem and sometimes reverse it, successful treatment of a problem that has been present for some time can require multiple treatments/realignments until it is possible to return the condition of the mouth as close as is realistic to its ideal condition.

When treating these conditions, it is important to remember that the teeth do not exist in isolation - they form relationships with soft tissues, bone, ligaments, muscles and the TMJ (tempero-mandibular-joint; the axis from which the lower jaw functions).  Any major realignments or reduction of teeth can have a significant impact on any of these structures and incorrect or dramatic changes to teeth can result in trading off one problem for another.
As a result many major problems will require multiple treatments, seeking gradual improvements each time.

In general it is also important to remember that on average, a horse's tooth erupts about 3mm/year, a figure which is reflected in the attrition rates of teeth - also about 3mm/year (although factors such as age, environment, pressure will vary these figures). Therefore any excessive/aggressive dentistry will also have a trade-off in a horse's old age by reducing the life-span and functionality of that tooth.

Therefore regular dental maintenance (on average once/year) results in two main benefits;
    * It will prolong the longevity of your horse's teeth (especially important in horses that 
       are 20+)
    * Maintains the teeth as close as is realistic to their ideal state, improving your horse's 
       digestion and health.