Horse’s teeth are very different to our teeth, they constantly erupt throughout their life (about 3mm per year) and are worn down as the horse grinds its food. Horses teeth get sharp for a number of reasons;
Virtually every horse has what is called an abnormality of wear affecting its dentition. What this means in simple terms is that the teeth become "uneven". It can be subtle or dramatic but some degree of asymmetric wear is generally present.
This is a big problem for horses. Why? Well, uneven wear means that one tooth or several teeth are being worn out faster than the others. This can dramatically shorten the functional lifespan of the teeth and lead to premature expiry of those teeth. The equine dental technicians job is to maintain what is called the “balance” of the mouth, by reducing the under worn teeth, rather confusingly called “overgrowths”.
In the last 20 years or so, motorised rasps have become very popular. Many horse owners assume that if the person “floating” their horses teeth is using ‘power tools” that they are addressing these abnormalities of wear. Sadly, this is all too often not the case. It takes many years of training to become proficient at correcting these “overgrowths“ or “balancing” as it is known.
Horses teeth are also very commonly susceptible to many other diseases similar to those that we can get with our own teeth, such as caries, decay, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth abscesses and so on, therefore a detailed oral examination is an essential part of dental care, so that any issues can be quickly treated before they escalate.