Equine Dental Care

Your horse needs its teeth!
Most responsible horse owners understand the importance of regular dental care for their horses. Performance, comfort and well being are all dependent upon a properly functioning and comforable set of teeth. We should remember that a major ageing factor in all grass eating animals is dental deterioration. We complicate the matther further by placing bits in the mouth and by feeding diets that nature has not designed the horse to eat.

As an Equine Veterinarian Australia member we are trained in equine dentistry. We use both hand and power equipment. As veterinarians we are able to adequately sedate horses as required to do a thorough inspection of the mouth and instigate suitable maintenance or restorative dental work.

Signs of Dental Pain:
Signs that your horse may have a problem include slow eating, dropping food, "quidding" and impaction of food in the cheeks, weight loss, fighting the bit, headshaking and lugging. On occasion, your horse may not show any outward signs of discomfort.

These sypmtoms will affect your horses performance, health and longevity.

What Needs to Be Done?
Regular dental maintenance involves performing a thorough examination and checking for abnormalities such as sharp enamel points on the cheek teeth. Treatment of hooks, waves, ramps, tall teeth and any other severe abnormalities must be attended to regularly. Remember that horses teeth are continually growing.

What About Bit Seats?
Bit seating is the term used to describe a procedure where the sharp front edges of the first cheek teeth are rounded off.
The reason for doing this is to ensure use of the bit doesn't cause pain to the horse. These must not be extreme, to avoid the exposure of pulp cavity of the tooth.

How Often Should You Have Your Horse's Teeth Examined?
There is no simple answer to this question. Dental Examination are recommended as often as needed depending on the age of the horse,feed type and work performed and the inherent conformation of the mouth.

This should begin as part of a general health check in the first few months of life as the foal often has ocnditions that require addressing.
Older horses should be examined every 6 to 12 months depending on your veterinarian's recommendation.

What About Sedation for Dental Work?
Sedatives can only legally be prescribed and dispensed by a veterinarian.
Sedation when used correctly allows a more thorough oral examination and treatment of your horse with minimal stress and discomfort and with safety for the veterinarian and handler.

Special Needs Of Aged Horses:
Dentistry plays an important part of health care for the aged horse. regular examinations are necessary as your horse ages.

TMJ Syndrome?
TMJ is the short name for the temporo-mandiular joint. This is the joint of your jaw. In the horse the TMJ is a simple hinge joint and as such suffers very few problems. the TMJ certainly cannot be "re-aligned". Science does not support agressive grinding of teeth to treat such a syndrome. This is, in fact, detrimental to your horse's health.

Vaccinations
All horses should receive regular vaccinations. Some dental proceedures may warrant other therapy such as antibiotics. Tetanus and other vaccinations can be given at the same time as the dental proceedures.