dental glossary

Incisors: front teeth, just inside the lips, used to grasp, nip and pull grass (and to bite you!)

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 (ie: 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.