Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Retained Caps, Deciduous Teeth

Each permanent tooth in the mouth has an eruption time. For most teeth, the permanent tooth displaces the preexisting deciduous or baby tooth. The thin, small baby tooth is adhered to the crown of the new permanent. With time, it usually loosens and falls off.

In some cases though, these “caps” can hang on, causing irritation to the soft tissues of the mouth and trapping feed material. This problem appears similar to other mouth or dental problems, i.e. difficulty chewing and discomfort with a bit.

Overly aggressive removal of caps before their time can result in long term serious problems for the permanent. The baby tooth has a protective function for the budding permanent tooth.

QUESTIONS TO ASK MY VET

  • Does that cap really need to be removed now?
  • PREVENTION

    Annual or semi-annual dental exam by a vet with an interest in equine dentistry is recommended.

    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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