What is our Five Component Oral Exam?
This is arguably the MOST important part of your horse’s routine dental care, as it allows us to systematically look at your horses head and mouth to evaluate functional efficiency and oral health to hopefully identify problems EARLY, so preventative measures can be taken.
Our five component oral check includes our external, oral soft tissue, occlusion, periodontal, and endodontic exams. This post will cover the external exam, with the other components being discussed in upcoming articles. View all articles in our educational series.
The external exam
Lumps, and bumps, and swellings, oh my! We carefully look for any swellings or asymmetry to your horse’s face, as this can indicate an underlying problem.
Not all of these are necessarily dental related. The horse on the left had a tumor in his sinus, creating a large facial swelling. The horse in the middle had an abscessed premolar that caused this large swelling. The horse on the right had a chronically abscessed tooth that caused a draining tract out the side of his face.
We also evaluate for any discharge from the eyes or nose. Again, these are not always related to a tooth problem, but sometimes can be!
It is also important to evaluate the muscles of mastication (chewing muscles!). Evidence of atrophy or asymmetry may indicate an underlying problem.