Dentistry is an important part of your horse’s general health care. An oral exam is recommended yearly to help monitor normal wear and identify potential problems. Discomfort in the mouth can lead to poor weight gain, decreased performance and bad behavior even when not bridled. Depending on the age of your horse and oral exam findings, a dental procedure may be recommended once to twice a year. For a thorough and safe dental procedure to be performed the horse is sedated and a speculum is placed in the mouth. With motorized dental equipment, each tooth can be addressed efficiently and accurately.
Routine dental care is important due to the unique structure and function of horse’s teeth. Horses have a combination of brachydont and hypsodont teeth. The simple (brachydont) teeth are the first premolars (wolf tooth) and canines that have a distinct crown and root, but have no function for the domestic horse. The incisors and molars (cheek teeth) are hypsodont, like the molars of ruminants (cows, goats and sheep etc). This type of tooth has a large body that continues to erupt into the horse’s mouth as they are worn down by fibrous feed material. Most of the tooth is below the gum line in younger horses and continues to develop as it enters the mouth. The root of young teeth extends into the maxillary sinuses and mandibles creating “dental bumps” in 2-5 year olds.