Dentistry in horses involves the diagnosis and treatment of conditions associated to oral disease and decay. Correct dental equilibration improves, rectifies and relieves pressure in problematic areas.
Horses have five different shaped teeth in their mouths, all serving different purposes. As foals they have deciduous teeth which are slowly replaced and pushed out by the permanent teeth. Caps protect the permanent teeth during this process. A fully grown adult horse will have between 36 and 44 teeth, when it reaches this stage; it is termed a full mouth. The front teeth are incisors (used for cutting food), followed by an inter-dental space where the bit lays. Twelve premolars and twelve molars chew and grind the food prior to swallowing. All male horses have an additional set of four canine teeth. Very few mares grow canine teeth. Some horses develop wolf teeth on the upper jaw. Wolf teeth pose as a problem as they interfere with the bit. They are easily removed by an Equine dentist.
The chewing and grinding mechanism wear the teeth down. Horse’s teeth naturally wear against the teeth above or below, curbing excess growth. The upper jaw is set wider than the lower jaw; this sometimes allows the teeth to veer sideways, cutting the cheeks and reducing efficiency in the grinding mechanism.
Older horses present a smooth outer jaw line while younger horses have ‘lumps’ due to the presence of the permanent teeth roots still protruding from the jaw bone.
To ensure dental health, it is recommended to have your horses teeth checked every six months. By floating the teeth regularly, all sharp enamel edges are reduced, improving the mechanical ability to grind fodder correctly, it also prevents painful lacerations on their inside cheeks. Your horse will experience comfort while eating and be relieved of displeasure from bit pieces rubbing against their teeth after being given a bit seat.
Our Equine Dental Practitioner is Andrew Portch: 072 2433 466