From the Horse's Mouth
Before the equine dentist makes his annual visit, brush up on your dental terminology so you’ll be able to keep up with the conversation:
- The open, or interdental, spaces on the jaws between the incisors and cheek teeth where the bit sits.
- Small pointed teeth that grow in the interdental space near the corner incisors. Most commonly found in male horses, they are also called "tushes" or "tusks."
- A remnant of a deciduous tooth that can persist atop a permanent tooth.
- Falling off or shed at a natural stage of life, as occurs with "baby" teeth.
- Filing down sharp edges on a horse's molars using a long-handled rasp called a "float."
- A stained vertical furrow that first appears at the gum line of the upper incisors when a horse is about 10 years old. Its progress down the tooth assists in determining an animal's age; by age 15, it is halfway down the incisor, and by 20, it extends the full length of the tooth.
- A point or peak on a tooth's chewing surface that is developed through abnormal wear.
- The six front top teeth and six front bottom teeth; used for cutting and nipping rather than grinding.
- The 24 grinding teeth located along the jaws, used for crushing feed; also called cheek teeth.
- Surface contact of normally aligned opposing teeth.
- One of up to four rudimentary teeth occasionally present in front of the first molars. In rare cases, these teeth interfere with bit action and must be removed.
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