Incisors – Front teeth, just inside the lips, used to grasp, nip and pull grass.
Premolars – First three sets of large cheek teeth, top and bottom jaws, used for grinding. There is a full deciduous set followed by a full permanent set.
Molars – Second three sets of large cheek teeth, top and bottom jaws, used for grinding. There are no deciduous molars, they erupt as permanent teeth.
Deciduous – “Baby” teeth. They are replaced by permanent teeth.
Permanent – “Adult” teeth. They are intended to remain for the horse’s life.
Arcade – Refers to a row of teeth (i.e. there are four arcades of cheek teeth and two arcades of incisors).
Occlusion – The contact points of opposing teeth; occlusal surface refers to the chewing or biting surfaces.
Malocclusion – Abnormal contact between opposing teeth.
“In Wear” – The point in time when opposing teeth have reached sufficient height above the gumline to grind against one another.
Eruption – The movement of the tooth crown out from the bone of the jaw into the mouth.
Shedding caps – The loss of expired baby teeth as the new permanent teeth erupt to take their place.
Cheek teeth – A general term used to indicate all the grinding teeth, the premolars and molars.
Crown – The portion of the tooth that gradually erupts into the mouth and is used for grinding, not the root.
Mastication – The act of chewing or grinding food.
Cap – Horseman’s term for a baby tooth as it sits in place on the permanent tooth ready to erupt.
©2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners.