> Caps or Deciduous teeth
The transition from deciduous to permanent teeth can be a painful one for young horses if there are problems shedding. To the left you can see an example of the changes that occur in a young horses mouth. Here the permanent tooth is erupting underneath the decidious premolar, pushing it out. Sometimes a deciduous tooth can become retained between adjacent teeth, causing impaction of the permanent tooth coming through or conditions like periodontitis. This is caused by entrapment and decay of food between the deciduous and permanent tooth coming through.
Impaction normally occurs in the cheek teeth, and can be visible from the outside as 'eruption cysts' can form (bottom left). These cysts are inflammation of surrounding structures, and are common at around three to four years as permanent teeth push through. Eruption cysts should disappear by the age of five, as the cheek teeth have pushed up into mouth and are all in wear. The eruption times of teeth are also the most reliable way of aging your horse, approx ages can be given during dental appointments.