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San Juan Veterinary Clinic Equine Dentistry Service Presents: Understanding your horse’s teeth Dr. Justin Green.

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Presentation on theme: "San Juan Veterinary Clinic Equine Dentistry Service Presents: Understanding your horse’s teeth Dr. Justin Green."— Presentation transcript:

1 San Juan Veterinary Clinic Equine Dentistry Service Presents: Understanding your horse’s teeth Dr. Justin Green


3 Goals of today’s presentation: -Teach you to evaluate your own horse’s dental status. -Teach you to evaluate safe and quality Equine dental practices. -Emphasize the overlooked importance of regular dental exams and dental balance.


5 The Foundation -Anatomy: what’s normal? -Mechanics: why equine teeth look the way they look.

6 Cheek Teeth (premolars and molars) -Grind feed like a shear Incisors -Used to grasp forage (along with lips). Basic Anatomy


8 K9 teeth -For defense **NOT WOLF TEETH** TMJ -Very Nerve Dense -Boxers getting Knocked out Wolf Teeth (if present) -More common in mares -Usually removed at castration Basic Anatomy


10 “HYPSODONT” Continually erupting, NOT continually growing!

11 Clinical Crown Reserve Crown Root

12 -All equine teeth have a limited life span. -Maximum size by about 5 yrs old. -Horses live much longer today than they were naturally intended to. -World’s oldest domestic horse= 51 yrs!! -average Przewalski horse (wild)= about 15 yrs.

13 At Rest Only Chew with 1 side at a time. **Leads to over use of 1 side if pain is present**

14 - Creates a rope of hay. - Creates points on the teeth. -cheek side of upper teeth -tongue side of lower teeth

15 -May extend all the way to stomach. -Spit out as “quids”, “quidding”= pain or disrupted flow. Quid May look more like a cigar.

16 Quids/ Quidding


18 Signs of dental pain or disease: -Obvious -Quidding. -Weight loss. -Awkward chewing behavior. -Bad breath. -Muscle asymmetry. -Less Obvious -Head shyness. -Resisting the bit. -Poor performance (neck flexion, turning, stopping). -Packing/ holding forage in cheeks. -Head tossing. -Rubbing incisors on metal/ wood, etc. -Becoming antisocial.

19 Quids Thin body condition

20 Awkward chewing behavior

21 Right temporalis muscle atrophy.

22 Swollen/ enlarged TMJ (right). Temporalis atrophy on right.

23 Holding forage in cheek.

24 Rubbing teeth on metal


26 POP QUIZ!! -Please correctly identify the following tooth:

27 True or False: Horse’s teeth continually grow throughout their lives.

28 Equine Dental Balancing How we help horse’s teeth last as long as possible.

29 “To examine a horse’s teeth to see whether they need attention, back the horse into a single stall, remove the halter or bridle and if necessary put a neck strap on the animal, then stand directly in front of the horse and reach into the mouth, grasp the tongue and pull it out to one side with one hand and lift the sides of the cheeks with the other. In this way, you will be able to see the full set of molars or grinders. If the inside edges of the lower teeth, or the outside edges of the upper teeth are ragged, rough and sharp thy need dressing.” -Dr. David Roberts

30 “The Practical Home Veterinarian” -21 st edition, 1935 Dr. David Roberts, Chicago Veterinary College 1889

31 Colic Treatment= rub mustard on the belly. Today= Ultrasound, bloodwork, endoscopy, laparoscopy, motility modifiers, pain management, anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, etc, etc. Tendon Injury= apply “lucky 4” blister liniment. Today=Laser therapy, stem cells, IRAP, PRP, shockwave, banamine, botox, etc, etc. Dentistry= ??????????


33 It i s estimated that 2% of horses in the US receive regular dental care. -Probably less than 10% of those are quality procedures. Horses are routinely euthanized for no other reason than expired teeth from chronic misuse. Teeth are like hooves; some lucky horses have great anatomy, but most do not.

34 Routine Dentistry: -Inspect entire mouth (in addition to teeth) and every single tooth. -dental caries, fractures, periodontal disease, packing feed between teeth, missing teeth, etc. -Soften/ remove dental points and other irregularities. -Maximize occlusion of cheek teeth. -goal is to have all teeth used evenly and equally. **ONLY POSSIBLE WITH PROPER EQUIPMENT**

35 “Must Have” tools of the trade: (expect nothing less) -Sedation! -it is dangerous and a physical impossibility to even do a thorough exam without sedation. -A very bright light. -example. -Power Instruments. -hand floats are traumatic, dangerous, and give people a false impression that they have helped their horse. -*power instruments can be very damaging if misused* -Knowledge and Passion.

36 At least sedate and examine starting at 2-3 yrs old. -then every 1-3yrs depending on the individual. Why so young? -shedding baby teeth (caps) are most common cause of a “wave mouth”. Due to timing of baby teeth shedding and adult teeth erupting.

37 Common Dental Pathology Incisor Wedge

38 Large Hooks and points

39 Malalignment

40 Missing Teeth

41 Parrot mouth

42 **The photos in this presentation have been obtained from various professional online resources.**

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