Problems of the Teeth


Common Conditions of the Teeth:  

Retained Caps

premolar cap

Retained deciduous teeth after the permanent tooth has erupted can result in impaction, displacement and prevent normal eruption. May fragment causing laceration/infection of gums, tongue, or cheek. Must be removed.

Wolf Teeth

wolf tooth

Not to be confused with the canine teeth, Wolf teeth are found usually in the upper arcade in front of 2nd premolar. They can be quite large as in the picture but are often very small and sometimes do not erupt fully through the gum (blind wolf teeth). They can cause pain and problems if they interfere with the bit and will need to be removed if this is the case. 

Parrot Mouth

parrot mouth

A congenital condition in which the upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw. The condition results in the development of hooks on upper and lower molar teeth that need to be removed. In addition abnormal occlusion between the upper and lower incisors means that they continue to grow abnormally due to a lack of wear; consequently they must be shortened.


Wave Mouth


Often occurs in conjunction with parrot mouth, retained dental caps or if the incisors are too long. These factors cause a variation in molar height without even contact and wear. Some molars grow longer than other resulting in a wave-like appearance when the molars are viewed from the side.         


Enamel Points and hooks

hooks and point

Very common sharp points which develop on the outer edges of upper molars and inner edges of the lower molars. Occurs when there is an incomplete overlap of the upper and lower molars and uneven wear on the grinding or biting surfaces during side-to-side chewing. Hooks occur as a result of a mild misalignment of the upper and lower jaw.Hooks often form on the fronts of the upper arcades and tha backs of the lower arcades. These can interfere with jaw movement particularly when the horse is being ridden and asked to "outline" and should be rasped down regularly.


Indicators of pain in the mouth:

  • Quidding (dropping food)
  • Balling hay or grass
  • Bitting problems (Head shaking, Aversion, Behavioral problems)
  • Problems eating
  • Weight loss
  • Poor Performance 

A horse showing any of these signs needs to be investigated!  

If your horse shows any of the above signs, call the surgery and book an appointment for one of our vets to come out and check the teeth and perform any treatment that is required.

Regular inspection, generally on an annual basis is recommended to ensure comfort and peak performance.

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