Routine Dentistry

During your horse’s oral assessment it is not uncommon to find minor dental problems, most of which can be corrected straight away using a combination of precision dental hand tools and modern battery powered dental instruments.

Routine dentistry includes:

  • Carefully reducing sharp enamel points (SEP), hooks and ramps
  • Reducing minor dental overgrowths
  • Re-balancing the dental arcades for improved chewing efficiency and comfort
  • Removing any retained deciduous teeth (caps) in younger horses
  • Further investigating any identified abnormalities e.g. caries, diastema, periodontal disease, fractured teeth…

Some horses have more serious dental abnormalities (e.g. severe dental overgrowths, malocclusions, missing teeth) which can interfere with the normal chewing motion of the jaw and cause behavioural issues, weightloss, jaw pain… and these horses may need to be treated more frequently. This is because only a limited amount of tooth (only a couple of mm) can be removed at one time before the sensitive pulp is exposed. This will vary between horses and even between individual teeth so it is imperative that during rasping and correction that the teeth are constantly being checked to avoid rasping too much away in one go. Some corrections therefore will have to be made over several months.

Dental problems that are not addressed early on in their development can progress and by the time the horse shows signs of dental discomfort such as difficulty eating, quidding or reluctance to accept the bit, the disease is often severe and extremely painful, requiring extensive treatment over a long period of time or extraction of the tooth (or teeth) if the disease is too advanced.

The use of power tools requires training, skill and precision. Over-rasping leaves horses teeth too smooth and without the ability to grind food correctly, which can lead to quidding, choke, diarrhoea or even colic. Over-rasping also reduces the lifespan of the tooth and can expose the sensitive pulps in the teeth and cause extreme unnecessary pain to the horse. Incorrect use of power tools can lead to over-heating of the teeth which will lead to thermal damage and tooth death. Incorrect use of power tools can also cause trauma and sores to the inside of the horse’s mouth, more common when using power tools in unsedated horses.

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