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Chinchilla With Elongated Tooth Roots

Are elongated tooth roots in a chinchilla reversible?

Karen Rosenthal, DVM, MS
Posted: May 29, 2014, 7:40 p.m. EDT

chinchilla with hay and treats
© Gina Cioli/I-5 Studio
Hay and other high-fiber food or treats help keep chinchilla teeth healthy longer.

Q: I’m concerned about the dental situation of my chinchilla. She's 6 years old and a couple of days ago she had an X-ray. The local vet told me that some of the roots of my chinchilla's teeth have started to elongate. From the X-ray it shows a slight movement inward, so she's in an early stage. Also, the line between the upper and bottom teeth is straight, and her front teeth meet each other properly. Is this process reversible, and is there some treatment I can provide for my pet?

A: Those are great questions. From your description of the radiographs (X-rays) I would agree that this is early dental disease. We believe that we may not be able to cure all dental disease, but we can prolong the time that your chinchilla can be problem-free of dental issues.

Prolonging the problem-free time can be done in two ways: the first is diet, and the second is treatment.

Diet changes are all aimed at increasing fiber in the diet and, therefore, increasing the abrasive quality to the diet. The more abrasive the material in the diet, the more the outer portion of the teeth are being worn down and, we believe, this will forestall further overgrowth of the dental roots. Increasing fiber means less pellets, less fruits and more hay and grasses.

The treatment that we recommend is periodic burring down of the exposed cheek teeth crowns. If fiber cannot grind down enough of the exposed cheek teeth crowns, then veterinarians use a mechanical burr to remove some of the crown. The theory is that if there is less exposed crown, this will prevent the roots from overgrowing.

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Common Chinchilla Dental Problems, click here>>

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See veterinary Q&A for all small animal pets, click here>>

Posted: May 29, 2014, 7:40 p.m. EDT


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