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AAEP Equine Dental Care: What Every Horse Owner Should Know

Fun Facts

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.