Equine Dentistry: Sharp enamel points

DDBA

These are before and after photos of an 11 year old Quarter Horse mare.  This is a view of her last 3 upper right molars showing some average size enamel points.  Each upper tooth has 2 enamel points that have become sharp and are cutting into her cheek causing ulcers.

Cheek ulceration due to sharp enamel points is the most common reason horses drop feed and have bit issues.  Treatment involves removing the sharp points and smoothing the cheek side edges of the top teeth and the tongue side edges of the bottom teeth (“floating”).  Once this is done, the ulcers heal in 5-7 days and the cause of pain is resolved.

Horses’ teeth continue to erupt throughout their lives at a rate of about 1/8th of an inch per year.  Because of this continuous growth, the enamel points will redevelop.  This is why most horses should be evaluated yearly to determine if these sharp enamel points need to be removed again.

David Warren, D.V.M.

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