Equine Dentistry


Horses are one of the few animals that have a natural occlusion of the incisors. This means that when the mouth is closed the biting surface of the incisors are in contact. Compare this to a human mouth where the lower incisors partially sit behind the upper incisors when you bite your mouth closed. The result is that the incisors in a horse have a real bearing on how the cheek teeth function and visa versa. If incisors are too long, or don’t fit together properly, the cheek teeth will not be able to grind properly. This will lead not only to mastication problems but also to premature ageing of some teeth, pain and temperament/performance problems.

    Retained Caps

    Caps or baby teeth need to shed in sets, at the correct time to allow the permanent teeth to erupt in the normal way.
    This was a 13 year old horse with a cap which had been retained since it should have shed when he was 3 ½ years old.
    It may not look much but had set up major problems within the mouth affecting not only the teeth but also this horse was very difficult to ride, handle and found it difficult to lift his near side, front leg.
    Problems due to dentition on the upper arcades of teeth can affect the front legs and problems due to dentition on the lower arcades can affect the hind legs!

    The cap had pushed the permanent teeth out their natural position leading to some areas having no opposition and therefore becoming protuberant.
    This retained cap has not pushed the permanent tooth out of position but is still causing a very uncomfortable situation for this horse.

    Retained incisor cap

    Retained incisor cap

    Retained incisor cap

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