Last Modified

June 24, 2022 by Umair Shahid

Like every rodent, the chinchillas also have sharp teeth. The rodents are famous for their chewing properties. If you have rodents around the house, you must be aware they can chew fabrics, wires, and pipelines. Chinchillas’ teeth care is essential because these rodents need regular cleaning and honing to keep their teeth in shape. The usual grinding by chewing toys and foods keeps the length reasonable. Sometimes, there is a need for manual cutting or honing of chinchilla’s teeth if they overgrow because of genetic factors.

Why chinchillas teeth care is necessary?

According to the research at Michigan state university, chinchilla teeth can grow 2 to 3 inches every year. To keep the teeth length normal, it is essential to allow natural wearing and tearing of teeth. This wearing of teeth tissue occurs by chewing activity and high fiber feed of chinchillas. Sometimes, this natural wearing of teeth is uneven, making it difficult for your pet to chew the food properly.  

The chinchillas have a total of 20 teeth. Four are incisors, and 16 are molars. These teeth need regular chewing on rough objects to get the right shape. If the teeth cannot maintain their length, the chinchillas might suffer from many periodontal problems. The infections can become painful, and chinchillas become anorexic because of this pain. It is essential to maintain teeth care in chinchillas to avoid periodontal diseases.

How to identify teeth problems in chinchillas:

There are several ways to identify teeth problems in chinchillas. In most cases, there are visible signs of dental and oral problems like drooling, difficulties in food apprehension and gagging. Sometimes, they also show some secondary symptoms like fever, anorexia, lethargy, and pain. If your chinchilla cannot properly chew the feed, you will see undigested food particles in their feces. This undigested food in feces is called cecal pallets.  

Essentials of teeth care in chinchillas:

Not all exotics experience the teeth problems like chinchillas. The chinchillas being the rodents, have teeth that grow throughout their life. Therefore, they need regular teeth care to prevent Oro-dental problems. Some essentials of chinchilla teeth care are:

Teeth trimming:

The front incisors usually become overgrown in chinchillas. People cannot identify the overgrowth of teeth because they think it is normal for rodents to have overgrown front teeth. These overgrown teeth stick out of the lips, grow into gums, and sometimes bend on the edges.  These tooth conditions make food apprehension difficult for chinchillas.  

The chinchillas also suffer from overgrown molars. But this condition is difficult to observe without a veterinarian’s experience. I do not suggest you open your chinchilla’s mouth without the presence of an expert. This condition, if persists, can cause oral ulcers and wounds. To prevent this, get the overgrown teeth of your chinchillas trimmed by a veterinarian.

High-fiber diet:

Another way to hone the teeth of your chinchilla is by providing a fiber-rich diet. The chinchillas do not undergo any teeth surgery or whetting in their wild habitat. They remove their overgrown teeth by chewing on food and other materials naturally available.

The chinchillas are herbivores. They need a diet rich in fibers and soluble carbohydrates. However, I suggest you give your chinchilla a coarse diet if you want to maintain their oral health. The fiber straws are rough, and chinchillas chew them for a long time to break the strands and ease digestion. This continuous chewing helps to keep their teeth in shape.

Provide chew toys:

In their wild habitat, the chinchillas prevent the overgrowth of their molars and incisors by chewing on hard objects like wood and hard stones. You can provide the chew toys to your chinchillas. Some people place wood chunks in the cage of chinchillas.

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However, I recommend using chew toys that are safe for your pets. Some chinchillas show allergic reactions to woods like cedar, pine, plywood, etc. It is better to provide chew toys safe for your chinchillas instead of wood chunks leading to allergy.

Regular checkup by a vet:

It is necessary to take your chinchilla to a regular check-up by an exotic animal veterinarian. According to veterinarian experience, the chinchillas become anorexic because of some oral and dental problems.

It is difficult for pet owners to figure out the issues with the molar of chinchillas. A veterinarian can do a thorough inspection of the oral cavity of the chinchilla. This inspection can save your pet from many life-threatening infections and injuries to the oral cavity.

Why do we need to take chinchilla to a vet for dental care?

Many problems can occur with the teeth of chinchillas. A veterinarian can identify and treat these conditions effectively. The veterinarians can identify complications like malocclusion, cecal pallets, and slobbers. A new pet owner cannot detect these problems.

The slobbers are the drooling or excessive saliva production by the chinchillas. This drooling might be because of poor apprehension or oral infection in chinchillas. Malocclusion occurs when the upper and lower jaw teeth are mispositioned. It can be because of overgrowth of upper or lower incisors.

This condition can damage the gyms and pallets of chinchillas. The cecal pallets are undigested food particles in the feces. If the chinchilla cannot properly chew and digest the food particles, it leads to fecal pallets in the waste material of chinchillas. Only a vet can identify and solve these problems in the initial stage.  

How can vets do teeth care in chinchillas?

The veterinarian has special instruments for chinchilla teeth care. The chinchillas can have various dental problems, and each issue might need a particular instrument or treatment protocol. To remove the overgrown teeth, there are special teeth grinders available. However, I recommend ever trying to use a tooth grinder on a chinchilla by yourself.

Similarly, they might need to remove an infected tooth. This removal needs tooth filling to treat the infection and close the site. The surgical closure is necessary to prevent the impaction and necrosis of food particles in gums. Sometimes, there is an extensive infection that can damage the bones. The vets can guide you about regular teeth cleaning and care for chinchillas.

Frequently asked questions:

  • Can I file my chinchilla’s overgrown teeth?

No, you must leave this task for a veterinarian. I will never recommend you file your chinchilla’s teeth because teeth filling can be a painful process for chinchillas. Always take your pet to an exotic animal veterinarian. The vet will confirm if your chinchilla needs teeth grinding or not. Always perform this task under anesthesia. Use analgesics afterward if your chinchilla feels any pain.

  • Should I brush my chinchilla teeth?

No, the chinchillas’ teeth cleaning does not include brushing using toothpaste. The chinchilla needs natural cleaning by rubbing and friction. You can provide hay and a coarse diet to chinchillas that helps them grind their teeth. Similarly, provide chew toys to keep your pets’ teeth in shape.

Conclusion:

Now I must say that chinchillas teeth care is not a very troublesome process. All you need to do is a regular check-up of your chinchilla. If you see any overgrown teeth or problems in the feeding of your chinchilla, get them treated by a vet. Besides, provide natural methods to prevent overgrown molars and incisors in chinchillas.

Author 2

I am a proud veterinarian from Lahore, Pakistan. A passionate animal lover who pursued her passion for animal care as a career.
My eagerness to learn and my love for animals grew stronger even during my teenage days. Having a lovely pet, a German Shepherd, in my home allowed me to bond with animals in the best way.
This bonding with my pet provided me with a firm foundation to research and preach about the best animal care methods.

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