Many people are surprised to learn that dentistry is an important part of caring for horses properly. Similar to humans, horses have two sets of teeth over their lifetime. However, unlike humans, whose secondary or ‘adult’ teeth come in at the size that they will remain, horses’ teeth continue to grow and wear down, and can become problematic if their teeth do not wear evenly, as horses’ teeth continue to erupt from their jaw and grow over the course of their entire lives.
The horse’s baby teeth (deciduous teeth) are temporary, and the first deciduous incisors may erupt before the foal is born. The last baby teeth come in by the time the horse is about eight months old. These begin to be replaced by adult teeth by about the age of two and one-half. By the age of five, most horses have all of their permanent teeth. An adult male horse usually has 40 permanent teeth; while an adult mare may have between 36 and 40, as mares are less likely to have canine (bridle) teeth. [Read more…]