Supernumerary Teeth

Also Known As

Excess teeth

Description

According to researchers, supernumerary teeth originate when the fetal tissue destined to become a tooth splits or divides, causing an excess tooth to be formed in the foal or young horse's mouth.

Sometimes, the excess teeth go unnoticed, but they may lead to future problems, including difficulty eating and development of abnormal facial features. For these reasons, all foals and young horses should be checked as teeth develop to make sure that these supernumerary teeth will not lead to future problems for the horse.

Symptoms

  • Extra incisor or cheek teeth
  • Teeth growing beside or behind regular teeth
  • Extra row of teeth
  • Dental crowding of teeth
  • Tooth overgrowth

Causes

The cause of supernumerary teeth relates to the splitting of the tooth bud in the fetus. When the tooth bud splits, an extra tooth grows alongside the regular tooth. The incisor and cheek teeth are most affected.

Prevention

No known prevention exists.

Treatment

Extra teeth need to be removed only if they interfere with the horse's health and dental functions. In some cases, they may need to be filed down, and, if they are loose, they will need to be removed. .

Sometimes, supernumerary teeth appear to cause problems, such as excess nasal discharge, facial swelling, bit evasion behavior, and difficulty eating. In these cases, a veterinarian experienced in horse dentistry can determine if the teeth should be removed or if regular dental care will take care of the problem.

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