The Equine Gingiva: A Gross Anatomical Evaluation.
Equine periodontal disease (ePD) usually starts with food impaction, formation of diastemata, gingival inflammation and formation of periodontal pockets. This process proceeds toward the dentoalveolar space, causing detachment of tooth supporting periodontal fibers. Although several therapeutical procedures have been proposed, ePD is often only ... diagnosed in advanced stages, requiring dental extraction. A similar dilemma has been observed in small animal medicine, but has been overcome by the introduction of reliable examination protocols for the early diagnosis of periodontal diseases (PD). These protocols are based on detailed anatomical descriptions of healthy gingiva, allowing for the determination of the pathognomonic signs of the onset of PD and providing a basis for grading systems and treatment plans. Consequently, proposals have also been made for periodontal examination protocols in horses. However, these protocols were widely adopted from small animal medicine assuming a similar anatomy of the equine and canine gingiva. To provide a solid anatomical basis for equine specific periodontal examinations, 20 equine heads were examined macroscopically, with special attention to the gingival sulcus, the gingival margin and the interdental papillae. Constant morphological patterns of the gingival margin and the interdental papillae were found for the vestibular and lingual/palatal aspects of the upper and lower cheek teeth arcades, as well as for the incisor arcades. A gingival sulcus measuring greater than 1 mm was present in only 6% of the investigated specimens. The inspection of the gingival margin and the interdental papillae, as well as the recognition of a gingival sulcus, may serve as criteria to establish equine specific periodontal investigation protocols.
Original publication in
Frontiers in Veterinary Science 6 (2019), 322