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Equine Health Resource

Dental Overgrowths, Sharp Points

Synonyms: Wave Mouth

A horse’s permanent teeth erupt through life. The reserve crown is the major part of the tooth (the equivalent of the root) that is embedded in the bone of the upper and lower jaw. The upper rows of teeth are spaced slightly wider than the lower. The large grinding teeth have a block shaped surface with ridges of hard enamel along their surface. The enamel ridges become sharp with wear and efficiently grind and cut grass and coarse feed.

Depending upon a variety of factors (quality of occlusion or bite, type of feed) these ridges become overgrown.

This can cause an inability of the jaws (molar rows) to slide well against one another, and can cause pain and damage to the gums, cheeks and tongue. This results in inefficient chewing and pain in chewing, and in severe cases can cause malnutrition and weight loss.

In addition, certain dental overgrowths can cause pain with biting.


  • Are dental overgrowths really the cause of my horse not gaining weight or losing weight?
  • Can I expect to see my horse gain weight specifically because of removing the dental overgrowths?
  • Should I expect to see an improvement in my horse's performance because of treatment of these dental overgrowths?

    A balanced approach to dental maintenance in the horse starts with a careful dental examination at least once annually.

    Some horses with abnormalities may require more frequent dental examinations and treatment.

    Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

    Helpful Outside ResourcesCredible Equine Health Information on the Internet

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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