A lot of changes occur in a horse's mouth over the first few years of life with lots of new teeth erupting and deciduous teeth being lost. The central permanent incisors erupt at around two and a half years of age with the other incisors following at roughly three and a half and four and a half. The first three deciduous or 'baby' cheek teeth are lost between the ages of two and a half and four years. Occasionally these teeth don't shed when they should, which is referred to as 'retained caps'. This can cause discomfort, difficulty eating and in some cases large bumps on the bottom of the jaw. If loose, they can be removed with 'cap extractors' which usually allows the permanent tooth to erupt.
Wolf teeth are the first premolar tooth which are present in some but not all horses and sit just in front of the first pre-molar. They are often extracted in ridden horses as they can cause problems with the bit. Although they are often quite small they do have long roots which contain nerves and so should be extracted carefully in a sedated horse using local anaesthetic to numb the area. The horse should also be vaccinated against tetanus when this procedure is performed.
It is recommended that horses under 5 have a dental examination every 6 months due to the many changes occurring during this period. The teeth should also be checked prior to breaking in to avoid any potential discomfort.