Equine Dental Services

Horses’ teeth grow continuously until old age. In nature, the normal diet of horses contains heavy grasses containing silica, which acts as an abrasive to wear the teeth evenly and keep them level. Our domestic horses are generally fed a less abrasive diet, containing less silica. This diet can result in uneven tooth wear.

This uneven wear can cause sharp, raised edges on the molars. These can interfere with the side-to-side grinding motion of the jaws. These edges can be as sharp as razors and can cut into the horse’s cheeks or cause pain when a halter presses the cheek against the sharp edges. They also interfere with normal chewing. Left untreated, such uneven wear can even loosen teeth and interfere with nutrition.

The solution is a process called “floating.” A rasp is used to remove the ridges and to level the molars, allowing normal chewing action. Floating can be done manually, in the field, or using power equipment at the clinic. Dr. Harms can examine your horse’s teeth and recommend floating when needed.

Other dental problems can also occur in horses. Canine teeth can grow too long and press into the gums. Wolf teeth may also exist in some horses, and can cause gum pain and other problems. An examination will reveal these problems, which can be corrected by grinding canine teeth or removal of wolf teeth.

Dr. Harms believes that preventive care can eliminate any dental problems before they occur. Floating should be done on your horse’s teeth when needed, which may be once a year or less often. The horse owner should also keep an eye on the horse’s teeth and call Dr. Harms if attention is needed. Naturally, Dr. Harms will inspect teeth whenever he examines your horse.

If you’ve ever had tooth problems of your own, you know just how painful they can be. If you see any sign that your horse has problems chewing, starts avoiding the bit or fusses too much with the bit, salivates excessively or drops bits of food, contact Dr. Harms to have him examine your horse’s teeth and fix any problems and restore your horse’s dental health.