When was the last time you had your horse’s teeth examined? As horses live longer due to better quality veterinary care, nutrition and parasite control we have found a much higher incidence of dental disease. Frequent examination of your horse’s mouth can’t detect abnormalities early in the process where they can be corrected and prevent significant issues later in life. In addition to this, a proper alignment of the dental arcade provides for a more efficient chewing motion and less loss of feed.
Jacksonville Equine associates offers a full array of equine dental services. Our doctors are highly trained in the anatomy and treatment of dental disease in the horse. They are skilled in the use of sedation dentistry and high-speed rotary dental equipment to quickly and efficiently eliminate malocclusions as well as abnormal ramps and hooks that develop on the horse’s teeth.
We recommend that an annual exam be performed. With the use of sedation dentistry, there is no need for any pain or discomfort as there was many years ago. The days of pulling the tongue out of the mouth and filing the teeth are long gone. With a proper level of sedation, a dental speculum can be utilized to open the mouth and completely examine the inside and all of the teeth with a bright headlamp. This allows us to fully see all aspects of the mouth and each angle of the tooth can be checked using a dental mirror. Cavities, cracked, broken or uneven teeth can all be identified before they become a problem.
Dental disease in the horse:
Horses are prone to developing the same types of dental diseases and problems as humans, including gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, cavities as well as broken teeth and tooth root abscesses. Since the horse’s teeth continually erupt from the jaw and are normally ground down with wear, they develop sharp points on the outer aspect of the upper teeth and the inner aspect of the lower teeth which can cause lacerations into the cheek and the tongue. If something disrupts this normal wear, such as an abnormal tooth growth, fractures or missing teeth, then the entire dental arcade can become irregular or develop a wave mouth. Many of these changes can only be seen when the mouth is fully opened and a very bright light is used along with a dental mirror to identify areas of concern.