> Diastema and Periodontitis
Diastemata are narrow openings between teeth, which normally should be tightly fitted together due to the angles of tooth eruption and position within the arcades. Dental problems such as ramps, and excessive transverse ridging can put mechanical pressure on the teeth during chewing, opening up these diastema. Older horses also suffer as the molars narrow towards the root; this creates diastema between them when this narrow part of the tooth is exposed as clinical crown.
Forage gets forced into these diastema during the chewing cycle, causing continuous discomfort and pain in the gums underneath. In addition, food stuck between the teeth creates a perfect environment for bacteria to multiply. These then cause inflammation of the gum round the tooth and periodontitis.
Periodontitis is an extremely painful condition affecting the gums, the dental cementum and the fibers, which connect the tooth to its boney tooth socket. It involves the breakdown of these structures due to bacterial infection, and can even go all the way along the tooth into the sinuses, or cause pus-filled fistula in the lower jaw. When inflammation is not to advanced, periodontitis can disappear by removing the cause. In advanced cases extraction of the tooth by your veterinary surgeon is unavoidable.