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Reasons For Dental Care

All horses have a finite tooth structure that erupts as they age. They chew in a figure-eight motion and their upper jaw is wider, overlapping their lower jaw so teeth wear unevenly; the top molars become longer and sharp on the outside edge while the lower molars become longer and sharp on the inside edge. This uneven wearing prohibits natural jaw motion if the chewing surfaces of teeth are not properly maintained. If the rear molars or front molars do not oppose each other due to jaw alignment, hooks will develop and they will ALWAYS reappear as the teeth wear. If you were ever told that your horse has a hook, annual evaluation is required to ensure that your horse remains comfortable.


Annual maintenance, beginning at an early age, can promote the even wearing of a horse's teeth and it's a lot easier to prevent a problem with a young horse than it is to 'fix' a problem in an older horse. The longer a dental problem goes unaddressed, the more difficult it is to resolve.

​If your horse experiences any of the following signs or symptoms, please contact us to see how we can help you. Your horse's teeth may need to be examined if your horse:​

  • Has bad breath from its mouth or nose

  • Drops its grain while eating

  • Raises its head while eating

  • Eats hay before grain

  • Rubs its tail (manure full of hay stems can cause itching)

  • Bolts its grain (takes large mouthfuls and seems to eat too fast)

  • Excretes stems of hay in its manure

  • Changes its drinking habits

  • Seems sensitive to touch when you touch its outer cheek area

  • Can’t shift its jaw from side to side or seems to move its jaw in an abnormal way

  • Quids its hay (packs hay into its cheek and drops chunks on the ground)

  • Throws its head while riding or driving

  • Rears uncharacteristically

  • Is hard to bit, refuses to give to the bit, and/or refuses to collect while riding

  • Tilts its head while riding, driving, or eating

  • Loses weight or exhibits general lack of condition

  • Excessively salivates

  • Bleeds from its mouth

  • Has bumps or enlargements of its jaw or face, with or without discharge

  • Has discharge from its eyes or nostrils

  • Has sores on its lips, gums, or palate

  • Has punctures or lacerations on its gums or cheeks

  • Has bad general attitude

  • Experienced an incident of choke or colic

  • Experienced trauma to the head/face

Molar hook identified

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