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Common Chinchilla Dental Problems

Learn the facts about chinchilla dental disease and its signs.

By Robin Rockey
Posted: March 31, 2008, 5 a.m. EDT

chinchilla sitting on shelf in cage
If a chinchilla drools, drops food or loses weight, it might have a dental problem.

Chinchilla Dental Disease
Chinchilla dental disease can affect your pet in any stage of life — from baby to older adult. Causes of chinchilla dental disease include trauma, genetic predisposition or poor dental alignment. The teeth of chinchillas and other rodents grow continuously. Without an appropriate diet and a source to wear down teeth properly, normal tooth growth can also result in chinchilla dental disease. 

Malocclusion is a common chinchilla dental problem. Malocclusion occurs when a chinchilla’s front teeth (incisors) or back teeth (molars) fail to grow in proper alignment. This causes uneven wear of the chinchilla’s teeth.

Overgrown incisors are easily noticed upon inspection of a chinchilla’s mouth. However, it is often difficult to tell if the molars are overgrown. To identify malocclusion, a veterinarian will administer anesthesia to your chinchilla to allow a thorough evaluation of the mouth. The vet may also take X-rays.

Treatment of malocclusion includes trimming and filing affected teeth. Because chinchilla teeth are extremely delicate, only allow an experienced veterinarian to treat chinchilla dental disease, including malocclusion.

Check your chinchilla regularly for dental problems by gently lifting its upper jaw to reveal the incisors. Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately if any abnormalities appear.

Signs of Chinchilla Dental Disease:  

  • Change in appetite
  • Anorexia
  • Dropping food
  • Change in food preferences
  • Drooling (“Slobbers”)
  • Wet chin from excess saliva
  • Matted fur around the mouth or forepaws from grooming
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling or abscesses along the jaw


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Common Chinchilla Dental Problems

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Reader Comments
I brought my chinchilla to the vet because she had all the symptoms of malocclussion. My vet put her under to perform surgery and said her teeth were fine. I have no idea what is causing this problem. I feed my chins all the proper high quality pellets and hay and another one of my chins after having her for three years suddenly has over grown incisors of the top front teeth. I have no clue why. I am getting really discouraged because i love my chins. I have 12 in all they all have nice size cages with wheels, wooden ledges, wooden houses and chew toys. The other 10 chins teeth appear fine
Sandra, Meehan
Posted: 4/13/2011 5:15:08 PM
You know what's great? My rabbit has perfectly healthy teeth. The vet said so. It's because he gets a different kind of fruit or vegetable every day.
Aiyanna, Eugene, OR
Posted: 7/25/2009 2:13:50 PM
My chinchilla has an abcess in his chin area that just came up a few days ago, what is it and how can I cure him. Bugsy is 6&1/2 years old and I don't want to lose him now, he is the best pet I have ever had. Can anyone help?
Lorrie, Toledo, OH
Posted: 5/13/2009 7:43:11 AM
good info
Ryan, Chicago, IL
Posted: 2/21/2009 5:45:58 AM
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