In the Saddle: A reason to smile

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It's been time for the dentist this weekend at our house. Not for us but for the horses and no we don't take them to the dentist - the dentist comes to them.

I've been using excellent equine horse dentist, Sharon Cooper, now for years. She is fully qualified and is part of the British Association Of Equine Dental Technicians (BAEDT) which is an organisation for qualified professional Equine Dental Technicians. It also means that not only is she an expert in what she does, but that she is also fully insured too.

The upper jaw is wider than the lower jaw and chewing occurs in a mostly sideways-circular motion. This can lead to sharp edges on the outside of the upper cheek teeth and the inside edges of the lower cheek teeth.

Horses diets have also changed over the years becoming more and more processed and this can accelerate dental problems.

In addition to this - a young adult horse's teeth are typically 4.5–5 inches long, but the majority of the crown remaining below the gum line in the dental socket.

The rest of the tooth slowly emerges from the jaw, erupting about 1/8" each year, as the horse ages. Essentially horse's teeth are always erupting and this is why at least yearly check ups are needed.

If teeth require filing then Sharon has specialist tools for the job. It looks particularly frightening to me as I hate going to the dentist but my horses aren't bothered a jot.

Sharon's been doing April's teeth since the day I bought her, several years ago, so for April it is just a quick tidy up. Mara required a little more leveling out as her teeth had grown wonky but it didn't take long. Both will need to be seen in around ten months time, then due to their age, they can be then left to a yearly check.

My yearling is too young to check his teeth. Horses are born with baby teeth like humans are. He'll probably have his first check later this year. I'll keep you posted.