The Equine Dental Practice is committed to providing the highest standard of Preventative and Restorative equine dental care for your horse. Dental disease is a major cause of poor performance in horses.
In the wild, horses are selected for survival, and those with abnormalities may die younger and contribute little to subsequent generations. Since horse breeders do not select or on the basis of dental perfection, and since we want our horses to live long and happy lives, routine dental examination and care is crucial to our domesticated horses. The life expectancy of early wild horse herds was approximately 11 years. Nowadays it is common to see horses competing into their 20s and living into their 40s thanks to modern understanding and practices such as regular worming programs, hoof and dental care.
Unlike other domestic animals, horses must grind their food into a finely chewed mass before swallowing. The composition, eruption pattern and wear of the teeth results in a constantly changing occlusal surface. A horse’s teeth erupt at a rate of approximately 2-3mm per year, and are worn down at about the same rate by attrition. Equine teeth are not continually growing as is often thought, instead the teeth form at a young age within the jaw and have a significant amount of reserve crown(tooth mass) retained beneath the surface of the gums, that erupts (pushes though) throughout most of the horses life and eventually expire as the horse ages. The upper jaw and teeth in a horse are wider than the lower. This configuration is efficient for grinding feed but results in unequal wear of the occlusal surfaces, which can lead to a number of significant problems for the horse, including the development of abnormal wear patterns caused by malocclusions or misalignments of one or more teeth.
Sharp enamel points develop on the upper and lower cheek teeth (molars and premolars), which should be removed at least on an annual basis. Left to fend for himself, your horse is very likely to develop lacerations and ulcerations on his cheeks and tongue from rubbing against these sharp edges. Hooks, waves, over erupted teeth, and other dental anomalies can also develop which may interfere with bitting and cause significant discomfort or pain.
Ideally these should be prevented by maintaining a proper dental care plan for your horse. Fractured, loose or diseased teeth can also occur at any age. Wolf teeth are also removed in some bitted horses. Bitseats can be established as part of a normal routine treatment depending on the level of work,bit and soft tissue your horse has.
Malocclusions cause discomfort and imbalance within the horse’s mouth, affecting his way of going, as well as his ability to chew and digest feed. Your horse certainly won’t relax or enjoy being ridden if he is experiencing dental discomfort and pain.
Regular equine dental checkups and treatments are critical to preventing these problems from occurring, and so that your horse maintains a well balanced and healthy mouth.