Will dental exams improve my horse's performance? Absolutely!
Horses did not evolve with bits in their mouths. However, we use bits as a means of communicating with our horses. Poor dental health can cause significant miscommunication.
When sharp points develop on molars and premolars (cheek teeth), pressure applied to the bit causes sensitive cheek tissue to contact these sharp teeth, resulting in painful ulcerations. Loose teeth, wolf teeth and asymmetrical shedding of baby teeth can cause irregular wear patterns in a young horse's mouth. This leads to malocclusions, sharp point formation and dental hooks. These painful changes manifest as head tossing, mouthing the bit, fussiness and backing or turning problems.
Dental abnormalities can even affect your horse's ability to balance and contribute to head, neck and overall body stiffness.
Dental x-rays are often necessary to develop a plan for improving your horse's mouth. They enhance our ability to detect dental disease occurring below the gum line and are easily obtained at our hospital or on the farm.
Whether dental floating, deciduous tooth extraction, diastemma repair or tooth restorations are necessary, improving the comfort of your horse's mouth will improve their performance and their quality of life.