Equine Dental Care - Understanding Horse Mouths

Equine Dental Care - Understanding Horse Mouths

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Description: This medical presentations is about horses mouth care and more about dental treatment. Dogs and cats, horse teeth keep erupting & are ever changing. Eating wears the teeth down, but uneven edges can develop; causing sores on the cheeks and tongue.

The adult male horse has up to 44 permanent teeth, and a mare might have 36-40 permanent teeth with a root four inches long inches. Horses uses their very dexterous lips to choose their feed and draw it into their incisors (also known as nippers). With their incisors, they tear the grass from the ground, and with their tongue, move the food back to the molars.

The molars act as a millstone, grinding the grass, hay, or grain into digestible sizes easy to swallow. Now talk about mouths Diet is strictly plant based, To digest the amounts and types of roughage, they have to do a whole lot of chewing. Constant chewing wears away the teeth on a constant basis.

Types of tooth that has both soft and hard parts, and the teeth erupt continually, but very slowly, at a rate of about 2-3mm a year. Ideal conditions would allow them to have their teeth approximately 25 years. Deciduous molars are baby teeth replaced by permanent teeth.

As the root of the baby tooth is dissolved by the permanent tooth, which erupts from underneath, a cap is the result. The cap is then shed at different ages, usually between 2 1⁄2 to 4 1⁄2 years of age, depending on breed and proper tooth alignment during eruption.

 
Author: Kelly S. Riley (Fellow) | Visits: 1897 | Page Views: 2709
Domain:  Medicine Category: Veterinary Subcategory: Dental 
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Contents:
EQUINE DENTAL CARE

The “INs” of
Equine Care

DID YOU KNOW…
Unlike dogs and cats, horse teeth keep erupting & are ever
changing. Eating wears the teeth down, but uneven edges
can develop; causing sores on the cheeks and tongue.

The adult male horse has up to 44 permanent teeth, and a
mare might have 36-40 permanent teeth with a root four
inches long!!!

TALKING POINTS:
The horse’s mouth
 Types of teeth & functions
 Malocclusions / Problems
 Equine dentistry
 Aging by teeth
 Tools of the Trade
 Questions


UNDERSTANDING EQUINE MOUTH
Terms:
Mandible or Arcade or Jaw
Incisors
Molars
Pre-Molars
Canines
Wolf Teeth
Malocclusions= Hooks – Ramps – Points
TMJ joint
Rostral (meaning towards the nose)
Caudal (meaning towards the back of the mouth)

HOW DO HORSES EAT?
Horses use their very dexterous lips to
choose their feed and draw it into their
incisors (also known as nippers).
 With their incisors, they tear the grass from
the ground, and with their tongue, move the
food back to the molars.
 The molars act as a millstone, grinding the
grass, hay, or grain into digestible sizes easy
to swallow.


UNDERSTANDING EQUINE MOUTH
Diet is strictly plant based.
 To digest the amounts and types of roughage,
they have to do a whole lot of chewing.
 Constant chewing wears away the teeth on a
constant basis.
 Types of tooth that has both soft and hard
parts, and the teeth erupt continually, but
very slowly, at a rate of about 2-3mm a year.


TOOTH ERUPTION

3 year old mare -

Illustration
from
The HORSE
March 2011

INCISORS
Incisors are the front teeth. Also known as
nippers, they are used to tear grass out of the
ground.
 Should have a flat table surface.
 Erupt from the middle
out to corners at:
2½ , 3½ , 4½ years of age.


INCISORS
o They are deciduous teeth (baby teeth) and are temporary.
o They loose the central incisor at two and one-half, lateral three
and one-half, corner at four and one-half, and at five years then
permanents are fully present.

http://www.mwveterinaryservices.com/

MOLARS & PRE-MOLARS


Premolars and molars are the cheek teeth
used to grind and chew food.



All teeth caudal to the canine (site) are molars.

MOLARS & PRE-MOLARS





Erupt at 3 ½ to 5 ½ years of age in
the lower jaw, and approximately 6 to 18
months later on the upper jaw.
(PM) 2 thru 4 are also deciduous teeth and are temporary in rostral
to caudal order until 2 ½ , 3 ½ , 4 ½ years.
Ideal conditions would allow them to have their teeth approximately
25 years. Deciduous molars are baby teeth replaced by permanent
teeth. As the root of the baby tooth is dissolved by the permanent
tooth, which erupts from underneath, a cap is the result. The cap is
then shed at different ages, usually between 2 ½ to 4 ½ years of
age, depending on breed and proper tooth alignment during
eruption.

FROM :http://www.discerninghandsequinedentistry.com/prevention.html

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
CANINE AND WOLF TEETH?
Canines (Tusks, tushes or bridle teeth) &
Wolf Teeth are sometimes confused with
one another.
 Canines are usually buffed or rounded off
and only removed if infected & loose.
 Wolf Teeth are commonly extracted to
improve performance.


CANINE & WOLF TEETH

Photos from horsedentist.com

CANINES
Canines are commonly found in stallions
& geldings, but are not often
seen in mares.
 Canines usually erupt at
4 to 6 years of age; lowers first.
 Wolf Teeth erupt at 6 to 15 months,
although variations will be seen.


WOLF TEETH
Wolf teeth are vestigial premolars, remnants of
the hyracotherium stage in a horse's
development when seven molars were present.
 Wolf teeth sit just forward
of the first major premolar.
 Likely resultant performance
problems - head throwing, lugging,
getting "behind" or "over" the bit.
Makes a strong case for their removal prior to
training or major events.


http://www.mwveterinaryservices.com/

BLIND WOLF TEETH
These are wolf teeth that have not erupted
through the gum, but can cause extreme
discomfort from the bit while the horse is
ridden.
 Can find these by feeling the gums.
 Blind wolf teeth are often removed.


BIT SEATING







The creation of bit-seats is a technique in which the first
major premolars - the teeth against which the bit rides - are
carefully rounded and shaped, thereby lifting the bit up and
off of the sensitive bars, reducing tongue pressure and
making certain that sensitive cheek tissue is not pinched
between the bit and tooth.
Bit-seats provide for much greater comfort for the horse, and
often result in great improvements in performance.
The installation of bit-seats reduces a great number of
performance vices: headshaking, evading the bit, lugging, etc.
Bit-seats are a "must" for competition horses, and for horses
in which a high degree of performance is expected.
Performance Horse Dentistry!

BIT SEAT
Before Dentistry

After Dentistry

“Bit seats decrease bit pressure on the
tongue because the bit has a notch to rest in.
This often results in an immediate
improvement in performance.”
Photos & Text from equinedentist.com

False statement.
Listen to why
this is misleading!

TMJ JOINT & THE 3 POINT BALANCE
Whole-mouth-dentistry, or equilibration,
considers and maintains the working
relationships of all the teeth, primarily
through crown-height reduction.
 Its goal is to achieve a three-point-balance
between the incisors, the molars, and the
temporomandibular joint (TMJ).


TMJ

The jaw joint of the horse is the temporomandibular joint.
Discomfort in the horse's mouth could cause him to tighten his
jaw and poll (top of neck), producing tension in his back

MALOCCLUSIONS
Malocclusion is a problem in the
way the upper and lower teeth fit
together in biting or chewing.
The word malocclusion literally
means "bad bite."

HOOK, RAMP, STEP MOUTH,
WAVE MOUTH, SHEAR MOUTH

PARROT OR MONKEY?


Distortion of a horse's jaw is termed an overbite (parrot)
or under bite (monkey).

Resulting over/under bite problems- prevents a horse from chewing freely side to
side resulting in improper and excessive molar wear. Rostral and caudal hooks,
transverse ridges, wave complexes and sheared molar table angles will become
more severe as the horse is forced to chew incorrectly overtime.
Images from http://www.mwveterinaryservices.com

HOOKS
This occurs when the upper
jaw is slightly forward of the
lower jaw creating a situation
where the first upper premolar
does not meet the lower
premolar and hence,
the front part of the tooth
grows long and sharp. Left
unattended this hook can
grow into the lower jaw
causing intense pain and
infection. Sometimes
accompanied by lower ramps
at the back of the jaw.

RAMPS
A ramp is basically the
same thing as a hook, but
its on the lower jaw. Ramps
can be associated with the
first lower premolar (#6) or
the last lower molar (#11).
They can cause the same
complications as hooks.

STEP MOUTH


This occurs when one cheek tooth is either
missing or is completely overpowered by the
opposing cheek tooth. This abnormality allows
the opposing or dominant tooth to grow into the
gap left by the missing or weak tooth creating a
situation where the lower jaw is unable to move
forward or backward. This inability to move
makes it nearly impossible for the horse to
break at the poll and hence collection is unable
to be achieved.

WAVE MOUTH


This abnormality is similar to a step mouth,
but with more teeth involved. There are both
high and low points on each arcade creating
a situation where the movement of the jaw is
severely inhibited in all directions causing
difficulty chewing as well as difficulty with
collection and performance.

SHEAR MOUTH


This occurs when the horse is not chewing
evenly on both sides of the mouth causing
uneven wear patterns in both the incisors
and the cheek teeth. The points associated
with a shear mouth can be excessively sharp
and cause severe damage to the delicate
tissues of the cheeks and tongue.

UNDERSTANDING EQUINE MOUTH







Upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw
As teeth erupt and are worn away by chewing, the
edges that do not meet together continue to grow
without being worn down and get sharp.
Sharp points = pain and
discomfort = eroding the
cheeks & tongue.
Inhibit chewing motion = poor
digestion = weight loss, poor
performance, and increasing
the risk of choke and colic.

WHY DENTAL CARE IS NEEDED


The periodic removal of these sharp points is
necessary to minimize oral pain and will
prolong the length of life as well as improve
the quality of life of your horse.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
“FLOATING” AND DENTISTRY?
FLOATING = removal of sharp edges that
develop on the molar arcades as a result of
the honing action of chewing.
 Whole-mouth DENTISTRY, or equilibration,
considers and maintains the working
relationships of all the teeth, primarily
through crown-height reduction & 3 POINT
BALANCE.


AGING A HORSE BY IT’S TEETH


There are four major ways to estimate age of
horses by appearance of their teeth:
 Occurrence

of permanent teeth*
 Disappearance of cups*
 Angle of incidence*
 Shape & the surface of the teeth*
*The age of a horse can be estimated by observing the
eruption & wear patterns. The key word is“estimated”,

since eruption & wear can vary greatly.

DENTAL CRITERIA FOR AGING
Summary of dental criteria for aging--(note that these are approximate ranges only, references vary)

Criteria
Deciduous eruption
Permanent eruption
Cup disappears
Dental star appears
Round table shape
Triangle table shape
Biangular table shape
Galvayne’s groove

Seven year notch

Incisor 1
8 days
2 ½ years
6 years
8 years
9 years
14 years
18 years

Incisor 2
8 weeks
3 ½ years
7 years
9 years
10 years
15 years
19 years

Incisor 3
8 months
4 ½ years
8 years
10 years
11 years
17 years
21 years
10-30 years (upper
incisor)

7 and 11-17 years
(upper incisor)

Table, Information & following diagrams from
http://loudoun.nvcc.edu/vetonline/vet221/dentistry/lesson12a.htm

CAPS. CUPS & STARS






As the adult teeth erupt, the deciduous teeth are pushed
out of the alveolus, but they remain attached to the adult
tooth as it erupts. At this stage, the deciduous tooth is
called a CAP.
At age 5 there is a dark brown or black cavity, known as
the CUP, in the center of the tooth that corresponds to the
infundibulum. As the teeth wear, the cup disappears and a
small spot of enamel appears in its place at around age
10. The enamel spot disappears at about 15.
The dental STAR is the dark dentin that appears on the
occlusal table as the wear approaches the level of the
pulp chamber. It is not really star shaped, but is a line that
appears rostral to the cup (or the enamel spot) by about 8
years of age. The dental star persists for years and
changes shape to match the diameter of the pulp
chamber, eventually becoming round by 18 or 20.
http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/digestion/pregastric/aginghorses.html

CAPS, CUPS & STARS
A diagram of the occlusal tables of the
incisors showing the disappearance of
the cup: 5 years old on the left and 10
years old on the right.

Cross section
of an incisor
tooth
showing how
the shape
changes.

AGE BY ANGLE
View the horse from the side.
The older the horse gets, the
more acute the angle
becomes.
If you also look at the arcade
of the incisors you will notice
that in the young animal, the
incisors form a semicircle. The
incisors of the older animal
will form a straight line.

7 & 11 YEAR NOTCH
The seven year notch (seven year hook) is a 1/8
to ¼ inch hook or projection that occurs on the
distal occlusal surface of the upper third
incisors. The hook is the result of uneven wear
of the incisor that commonly occurs around age
7, and then may disappear, then redevelop at
age 11, only to disappear by 18.
 So if you see a notch or hook on the upper third
incisor, all it really tells you is that the horse is at
least 7 years old and less than 18.


GALVAYNES GROOVE




Galvayne’s groove is a shallow groove on the labial
surface of the upper third incisor extending from the
gingival margin to the occlusal edge. It is not always
obvious.
If stained, it appears as a dark line. It appears at the
gingival margin at about 10 years of age. By 15 it is
halfway down the crown. By 20 it extends the entire
length of the tooth. At 25 it starts to disappear so that
is it only visible on the lower half of the tooth and by
30 it is gone. So if you see Galvayne’s groove, it tells
you that the horse is at least 10 years old.

GALVAYNE’S GROOVE
The Galvayne's groove
got its name from Sidney
Galvayne, a 19th-century
horseman born in
Australia who gained
recognition as an
excellent judge of a
horse's age by examining
it's teeth while traveling
Europe in the 1880s.

http://www.albertaequine.com/ecentre/teeth/galvayne.asp

AGING OR ID


It’s an art rather than science…



NOW you should know why they say,
“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!”

TIME FOR A CHECK - UP
Horse teeth should be examined annually and
worked on; if necessary to reduce pain, mouth
odor, problems with wearing a bit, problems
eating and weight loss.

POWER TOOLS ARE NOT BAD!

HAND TOOLS VS. POWER TOOLS

TOOLS OF THE TRADE
Speclum, Float-Rasp, Cutters,
Forceps, Extractor, Head stand


QUESTIONS?

Thank-you Greg for a WONDERFUL presentation!
Also Thanks to all of the kitchen help & our loyal
sponsors, NAGY’s Collision Specialists!

CREDITS / REFERENCES
http://www.mwveterinaryservices.com/
 http://www.csjequine.com/
 http://thompsonvetclinic.com/
 http://www.cappsmanufacturing.com/
 http://www.bakersfielddressage.com/1/post/201
2/03/dental-health-part-1.html
 http://www.advancedequinedentist.com/
 http://www.ahorsesmouth.com/faq.htm
 http://www.horsedentist.com/
 http://www.discerninghandsequinedentistry.com/


Power point created by Kelly S. Riley ~ Wayne SWCD 3/13