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Equine Health Resource

Front Teeth (Incisors) Look Abnormal

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you think your horses may be in need of routine dental care.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

    You happen to look at your horse’s incisor teeth and notice an abnormality. Maybe they are worn, uneven or discolored. Maybe one of the incisors appears chipped or broken. There are many possibilities.

    The incisor teeth are the front, nipping teeth and are by far the easiest teeth in the horse’s mouth to visualize. The baby teeth (deciduous incisor teeth) appear in the first months of life and are replaced by adult (permanent) between the age of 2 and 5 years.

    The incisors usually do not cause horses much trouble. Horses can even survive without them. The teeth that grind feed are the cheek teeth located in the rear of the mouth, and these are hard to visualize without proper training and equipment.

    WHAT TO DO

    Consider whether the horse is showing any signs of discomfort, salivation or difficulty eating. Take a photo of the problem and share it with your vet, so that they can determine whether an evaluation is necessary.

    WHAT YOUR VET DOES

    Many incisor problems are not accompanied by other problems or abnormalities and do not require aggressive veterinary treatment. Some wear abnormalities, like incisor smiles, frowns and slants, are simply managed as part of a comprehensive dental management plan.

    However, problems that cause discomfort or may lead to other issues may need to be treated. By performing a dental exam, your vet can make a diagnosis and provide treatment options.

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

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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