Equine dentistry is the examination, diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the mouth of the horse. Equine dentistry involves taking a history, proper examination of the teeth and correcting any abnormalities, usually with the use of instruments to file the specific areas of teeth.
A dental examination is more than a quick peek in the horse's mouth. It requires proper restraint, (usually by sedation) opening the mouth with a mouth gag and removing the sharp points to allow safe and thorough examination. The veterinarian can then examine the mouth visually and by hand to determine if any corrections need to be made.
A dental examination should be performed:
- In foals when they are 12 months old
- Growing horses annually to ensure that deciduous teeth (caps or baby teeth) are shed properly
- Prior to training, especially if the bit is introduced for the first time
- Prior to intensive conditioning
- Mature horses annually to ensure a comfortable and balanced mouth
- When there are problems related to performance.
- When chewing problems, like dropping feed, arise
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