Regular dental examinations are very beneficial for your horse's health

Over the last decade, there has been a huge improvement in equine dental care with owners becoming much more aware of the benefits of regular dental examinations for their horse. If you think your horse may be suffering from dental disease or you have any further queries, please contact us at the practice.

  • We recommend at least annual checks, which can be tied in nicely with your horse’s annual vaccines. Horses that are older, struggling to eat, or have had previously diagnosed dental pathology should be checked every 4-6 months. In severe dental pathology cases, we may recommend 3 monthly checks.

  • Unlike humans, horses have hypsodont teeth, meaning that the teeth have a finite period of growth but continue to erupt throughout life as the surface is worn through grazing. In the wild, horses would graze on tough forage for up to 14 hours a day, allowing the teeth to be naturally ground down in an even manner.


    Domestication has led to altered feeding patterns, such as feeding from higher up, concentrated/ softer feeds, and restricted grazing time due to stabling. This means less time chewing and an altered chewing pattern due to the easier-to-eat feeds versus tougher forage. This leads to the development of sharp enamel points on the outer edges of the upper check teeth and inner edges of the lower check teeth. Sharp hooks can develop on the teeth at the back of the mouth which can cause abrasions and ulcerations of the cheeks and tongue. Regular teeth rasping can keep these sharp enamel points under control to ensure your horse is pain-free.

  • At MBM, we recommend sedation as part of the dental procedure as it allows for a thorough, complete examination of the mouth. Most horses (like humans!) don’t like the dentist, so this can make the procedure much nicer for them and safer for the vets and handlers. The sedation lasts approximately 45-60 minutes.

  • Horses have developed to hide signs of pain due to their ‘prey’ nature, meaning that pain is often moderate to severe once dental signs appear.


    Common signs include:


    - Dropping food (quidding)

    - Difficulty chewing

    - Excessive salivation

    - Loss of body condition

    - Head tossing, bit chewing, resisting bridling, poor performance

    - Foul odour from mouth or nostrils

    - Swelling of the face, jaw, or mouth tissues


    If you notice any of these signs in your horse, please contact us immediately at the practice as your horse may be suffering from dental pain.

  • Wolf teeth are small teeth that are not always present in every horse. They can be found in front of the first upper cheek teeth and often erupt at 6-18 months of age. Rarely, they can be found in front of the bottom cheek teeth. If large or displaced (more likely when on the bottom), they may impinge on the bit when ridden and cause sensitivity, however normal placed small wolf teeth are often clinically insignificant and can be left alone. We recommend removal only if they are largely displaced or causing bit-related issues. This can be performed on the yard.

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