Warning Signs

Below is a list of warning signs that your horse or pony may have a problem that requires dental treatment:

  • Lack of condition
  • Dropping of food
  • Quidding (balling up) of hay
  • Dunking hay in water
  • Difficulty when fitting bridle
  • Undigested feed in faeces
  • Excessive salavation (drooling)
  • Head shaking when ridden
  • Cheeks sensitive to touch
  • Rearing
  • Bad breath from mouth and nostrils
  • High head carriage
  • Irregular movement of the lower jaw
  • Bumps or swellings of the jaw or face
  • Head tilting when eating or being ridden
  • Stiffness on one rein
  • Poor attitude or head shy
  • Soft tissue injuries to inside of mouth
  • Sores on lips, cheeks or inside mouth
  • Taking hold of bit & lack of control or bucking when ridden
  • Avoiding contact with the bit

Did you know?

  • All horses have a minimum of 36 teeth – 12 incisors, 12 pre-molars, and 12 molars. They may also have 4 canines and 4 wolf teeth
  • Mares can get canine teeth (tushes) but they are usually blind and remain below the gum line
  • Canine teeth in mares can also mean a sign of hormone inbalance, and possibly a high level of male hormone testosterone
  • Your horses teeth are known as hyposodant, which like rodents, erupt about 2-3mm per year. This can also be known as the rate of wear
  • When a horse reaches 5 years of age the mouth is conisderd full. As all permanent teeth have erupted and are in wear
  • Not all horses get wolf teeth, they are remnant from the prehistorice development of the horse
  • Wolf teeth serve no useful purpose and should be removed
  • Floating is the term used when carrying out procedures using rasps
  • All horses should recieve checks and routine maintenance roughly every 6 months
  • A horse with poorly maintained teeth could be eating 25% or more food each day than it needs. Therefore the money you spend using a good dentist could be saved on your annual food bill.

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