Crowning Performance Equine Dentistry - Trained under Spencer LaFleur Advanced Whole Horse Dentistry
Equine Dental Care & Conditions
Dentistry is much more than filing down sharp points on the teeth. A good equine dental practitioner must be able to recognize not only the big things, but also the minute details that may indicate some other problem. This is the foundation of Natural Balance Dentistry® .
Causes of Dental Problems
Many factors influence dental pathology such as age, feed, the natural cycle of tooth growth and wear, congenital problems, breed and trauma to name a few. Unfortunately another major factor is improper maintenance and aggressive structural changes made by power floating due to an artificial pathology in the horse's mouth that effects the entire body.
Symptoms of Dental Problems
  • Sharp enamel points forming on upper and lower dental arcades, causing ulceration and lacerations of the cheeks and tongue
  • Retained caps (deciduous or milk teeth not shed)
  • Discomfort caused by bit contact on wolf teeth in the upper maxillary arcades, or first cheek teeth of the lower mandibular arcades
  • Rostral and Caudal hooks forming respectively on the upper and lower cheek teeth arcades
  • Lost, fractured and broken teeth
  • Abnormal and uneven bite planes
  • Excessively worn teeth
  • Abnormally long or protuberant teeth
  • Slivers and fragments of teeth
  • Infected gingival and apical cavities
  • Tooth root abscesses
  • Gingival and Periodontal disease
  • Buccal ruptures
  • Avulsed teeth
  • Fractures
  • Wave Mouth/Step Mouth/Shear Mouth
  • Ramps of the lower mandibular arcade
  • ATR (Accentuated Transverse Ridges)
  • Calculus or tartar build-up on canine teeth
  • Sharp canine teeth causing lacerations to the tongue
Signs that Dental Treatment is Needed
By the time signs and symptoms of dental pathologies are shown to being present initial problems needing maintenance have often accentuated and become  advanced requiring corrective treatment.  Therefore, prevention is better than cure, and one of the better preventative steps you as a horse owner can take is to implement regular and routine equine dental care, where very nearly all problems can be prevented.  Keep an eye out for the following signs that can be attributed to the presence of oral cavity pathologies needing attention.
Carrying their head high, or extremely low
Uneven gait and refusing correct lead
Short striding
Dragging rear toes
Poor attitude/Bad behavior
Head Shaking/Tilting
Refusing certain types of food
Quidding-rolling hay into balls and then dropping them)
Eating Slowly
Pushes head deeply into feed as if trying to fill its mouth while eating
Difficulty if taking one lead or another
Chewing or grinding on the bit
Increased resistance to the bridle
Packing food into the cheeks
Refusing food completely
  Large particles of hay or whole grain in the manure
Physical Signs:
Imbalance in the hoof that proper trimming cannot correct
Poor topline/Sunken hips
Upside down or U neck
A bad odor from the mouth
Swelling of the face or jaw
Bleeding from the mouth
Soft tissue injuries within the oral cavity
Cracks in hooves that cannot be corrected by balanced trims
Enlarged or uneven temporalis muscles on the forehead
Lameness issues
Loss of weight/condition
 Increased sensitivity of the cheeks
Signs of colic
Excess drool or salivation
Nasal, eye or jaw discharge