The Equine Mouth

 Horses naturally get sharp edges on the Inside edge of the lower and the outside edge of the upper molar arcades. This is achieved when the horse chews its food, by wearing the dentine and cementum leaving the enamel which forms sharp points that can aggravate the cheek and tongue.Equine molars are used for grinding there feed. As they grind they wear the cementum and dentine leaving sharp enamel points. 


Hooks


 Hooks can form on the front or back of the upper or lower molars and start to overlap the opposing tooth. The hook can be a results of a naturally occurring overbite/underbite or secondary to other molar problems that push the lower jaw out of alignment. Hooks will prevent the jaw moving freely, they can also lead to excessive transverse ridges.  


Ramps


 Ramped molars are similar to hooks but have a more gradual slope to the tooth and also can be on the front or back, upper or lower molars. Ramps can accompany hooks or be secondary to other molar problems that push the jaw out of alignment and can occur if a hook has been reduced without the correction being made on the opposing tooth. 


Steps


 A step is a distinct “bump” within the molar teeth, where one or more of the teeth have grown longer than its opposing tooth. This may occur when a deciduous cap is retained too long preventing normal growth allowing the tooth on the opposite side to grow too long. The step prevents the jaw from moving freely either front to back or side to side. 


Waves


 With this the entire molar arcades have become uneven and developed the appearance of a wave. This often starts because of other problems causing the misalignment of the teeth, such as deciduous caps, missing teeth or large hooks and ramps. A wave will prevent the jaw from moving freely and will inhibit the proper grinding of food, this is likely to be a long term problem that will need to be managed regularly. 

Excessive Transverse Ridges (ETR)

 ETR are a series of washboard like, side to side ridges that form along the molar arcades. The ridges form at the point of the molar surface corresponding with the space between two molars on the opposite jaw. 


Wolf Teeth


 Wolf teeth are small, shallow rooted teeth at the front of the upper molar arcade. Wolf teeth rarely occur on the lower molar arcades. These teeth are a very common finding in many horses, they may interfere with the bit and actually may break off below the gum line and become loose causing discomfort. Wolf teeth are easily removed, ideally before 2 years old. 


Decayed and Rotten Teeth


Teeth can become rotten or infected due to trauma, abnormal wear over a long period of time or old age. Chronic infection of the teeth can lead to general health problems, rotten teeth can also cause infections of the sinus where the tooth root sits. 


Edges and Points


 Sharp edges form on the outer edges of the upper molar arcades and on the inner edges of the lower molar arcades. These edges occur during normal wear mainly because the wide upper jaw and narrow lower jaw configuration of the horses mouth prevents the edges from being worn away. Once the edges are established they prevent the jaw from moving freely. 

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Midland Equine Dental Services

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