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Why should I have my horses teeth looked at? Didn’t they exist in wild since the beginning of time without a dentist?
Yes, although horses did exist without a dental examination they also died a lot earlier and became the weakest in the pack much earlier. The weaker they became the more likely they were to be caught by prey. We like our equine friends healthy and living a long life with us.
Isn’t having my horses teeth examined annually a little bit too frequent?
No it’s not. Horses chew on average in one day about as long as we humans chew in a month. For performance horses we recommend a check up every six months; annually is a minimum for proper dental health.
Can’t I just call a vet or dental practitioner once I see there is a problem?
You should definitely call once you notice a problem however, by that time it may be far more expensive to help the horse regain oral health. For instance, lets say we find a periodontal pocket with gingivitis surrounding the tooth and catch it early; this is easy to treat or extract the tooth if needs be. However; once it progresses it can become a surgical extraction with a long and expensive antibiotic treatment. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.
Once a horses baby teeth fall out they don’t need to be floated any more do they?
Incorrect. A horses teeth are not like ours, they continue to erupt (at different progressions for different breeds) from 1mm per year to 3mm per year on average. In layman’s terms, a horses teeth never stop growing. It’s very important for the health of the horse the teeth and mouth are examined by a vet or equine dental practitioner at least annually.
If my horse is having a problem with their mouth what signs can I look for?
Horses will give you many clues there may be a problem with their mouth such as: head tossing, biting the bit, quidding, foul breath, weight loss, dropping feed, eating very slowly, swelling in the cheeks, tilting head to one side when eating, frothing from the mouth, eating a lot of feed and no weight gain, and large stems in the stool. Regular dental checkups help prevent these unfortunate signs.
What does ‘points’ and ‘hooks’ mean with regard to my horses teeth?
Points form on the outside of the upper cheek teeth and can be very sharp. Points can cause lacerations (cuts) to your horses cheeks and food can become impacted in the cheek meat and cause infections and swelling. Hooks form on the first molar and last molar of the cheek teeth and can also be very sharp. The difference from a point is that a hook forms facing forward on the front molars and backwards on the back molars. Hooks can grow long enough to cause severe damage to the gingiva (gums) and infection.
Does it hurt my horse when their teeth are floated?
No, it doesn’t. A horses nerves typically end close to the gumline so they have no “pain” when their teeth are floated or bit seats are done. It’s also important to not remove too much of the occlusal surface or float too much of the tooth down to either the infundibulum or pulp chambers. If you use a veterinarian who specializes in equine dentistry or an equine dental practitioner with formal training they will know what to look for and not “over” float the teeth. [/ toggle]

Whats the difference between a premolar and a molar?

Premolars are like our baby teeth. They are in at, or shortly after birth and eventually are pushed out by the permanent molars. Once the permanent molars erupt far enough above the gingiva the premolars will have a curve to them we call “bifurcation” and we can remove them once we know how far they’ve erupted.

What are wolf teeth?
Wolf teeth are vestigial teeth that erupt in front of the first premolars. Wolf teeth can cause significant discomfort in a bitted horse and cause the horse to throw their head from side to side, bite down on the bit and in some extreme cases may cause the horse to flip over backwards from the pain inflicted by the bit. If wolf teeth are visible they should be removed for the comfort of the horse and safety of the rider. <strong>Blind Wolf Teeth </strong>are wolf teeth that are still beneath the gingiva (gumline) and can, even though they are beneath the gums, cause discomfort to a bitted horse.
What is a ‘wave mouth?’
A wave mouth is when the cheek teeth on the top or bottom of the horses jaw overpowers the opposing tooth causing a wave to form. Think of it this way, there’s six cheek teeth on the top and bottom of one side of a horses mouth, they are numbered from front to back like this 06,07,08,09,10,11. If you wrote those numbers on a piece of paper and started at the bottom of the 06 and drew a line to the top of the 09 and then back down to the bottom of the 11 you would create a wave… That is a wave mouth in layman’s terms. This is a “malocclusion” or “bad contact” between the teeth and causes the lower jaw (madible) not to move forward when the head is in the relaxed position. It alse interferes with the horses ability to chew and respond to a bit. A wave mouth can be very uncomfortable for a horse and should be corrected.
Should my horse ever have work done to their incisors?
Absolutely a resounding YES. Far too many practicioners do not know how to properly perform an incisor reduction and properly align the occlusal angle during the reduction. Since the incisors are in the very front of the mouth they play a special role in the horses ability to chew or as we call it “masticate” their food with their cheek teeth. If the incisors are too long it can prevent the cheek teeth from touching or “coming into occlusion” at all. Practitioners who have not been properly trained can actually do more harm than good by floating the molars without reducing the incisors. If the horse already has malocclusions (bad contact or touch) the molars are not touching and, if the horse is floated the practitioner can seperate the cheek teeth more and prevent the horse from being able to properly chew their food. Incisor reduction is an important question to ask your dental provider.
Can you age my horse by it’s teeth?
With a resonable degree of certainty this can be done. It’s easier in younger horses becuase the tooth growth is rather predictable and there are only three premolars and the incisors are deciduous so we can see if their still tight or lose. The older the horse the more unreliable it becomes, especially in the late teen years, twenties and in some cases early thirties. The older the horse the more the environment such as type of feed, grain, hay, grass, living conditions, past dental care and heredity come into play making it less accurate.
Can equine dental technicians and practitioners work legally in Florida?
Yes they can. What’s very important to know about your EqDT (Equine Dental Technician) is did they attend a formal school for training and if so which one, do they belong to any organizations that bring credibility to their profession such as The International Association of Equine Dentistry (IAED), and do they have a good working relationship with any veterinarians. Ask them if they attend continuing education classes or have additional certifications or specialties that they’ve been trained to perform.
What form of payment may I use for services from National Equine Dentistry?
For you convenience we accept Cash, Checks, Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express and with prior approval Pay Pal as well. Due to the cost of billing we do not accept net 30 day terms; all payments are due at time of services rendered.