How to Treat Hamster Dental Problems



Restrain your hamster.,
Check the length of your hamster’s teeth.,
Make sure the teeth are aligned.,
Check for spurs.,
Watch for changes in behavior.,
Look for physical signs of dental problems.,
Monitor your hamster for infection.,
Get your hamster examined.,
Have the teeth professionally trimmed.,
Give your hamster things to chew on.,
File your hamster’s teeth.

Gently restrain your hamster by carefully holding it by her scruff behind her neck. You shouldn’t apply too much tension to the skin or you could cause its eyelids to retract (and pop the eyes out of the sockets).

Set your hamster on a table or desk while you check her teeth. Holding it at a height could cause injury if she wriggles loose and falls.;
, While holding your hamster, lift your hamster’s lip and see how long the teeth are. There’s no specific recommended length for the teeth. But, your hamster’s teeth are too long if:The incisors (the front teeth) force your hamster’s mouth open
The lower incisors grow past the upper incisors
Your hamster can’t open his jaws to get around something small (like a peanut)

, While still gently restraining your hamster, lift up its lip to see whether its teeth are aligned when the jaw is closed. The tips of your hamster’s incisors should meet together (the same way scissor blades do). Hamster teeth have a slight curve so they should meet point to point.If the teeth aren’t aligned (known as malocclusion), your hamster’s teeth will wear unevenly and can cause the teeth to become overgrown.

, Although the teeth at the front of the mouth (the incisors) usually cause the most problems, your hamster’s molars can develop problems too. The molars at the back of the mouth can develop sharp spurs. These spurs are long growths on the teeth that look like hooks.These are difficult to see and may require a special instrument with a light source and speculum to check them.

Spurs are painful for your hamster because they can dig into the tongue or cheek pouch. Usually, your hamster develops spurs on the molars only after having problems with the incisors.

, If your hamster has problems with his teeth, it may start acting strangely about his food. For example, your hamster may move food from the food bowl, hold it in his cheek pouches, and then bury the food in the nest.You should be monitoring if your hamster is eating the food in its dish or if it’s disappearing from the bowl because he’s hiding it somewhere.

, In addition to overgrown or misaligned teeth, you may notice your hamster drool saliva so that its chin is constantly wet. Your hamster’s breath might smell bad. It might also lose weight if it is having trouble chewing her food and eating.Your hamster’s coat might also look worse since it can’t get nutrients from eating food.

, If your hamster’s incisors become severely overgrown, they can grow round and puncture your hamster’s lips or the roof of his mouth. To check for infection, look for any sore on your hamster’s face or any pus that’s discharging near the mouth.A puncture and overgrown teeth can cause a secondary bacterial infection that is very painful, so get immediate medical attention for your hamster.

, If your hamster’s teeth are getting long or you suspect dental problems, take your hamster to the vet. The vet can check for other health problems and will check for dental problems. The vet will check your hamster’s teeth by using a speculum and otoscope to look deep in the mouth.Since it’s difficult to see into a hamster’s small mouth, the vet may want to give a little anesthesia to do the examination and x-rays while your hamster sleeps.

, If your hamster’s teeth are overgrown, the vet may use a dental drill to file the teeth down. The vet will also file down the molars to the correct length. Your hamster may need a sedative or anesthetic during this procedure.Some veterinarians may clip or cut the teeth, but if the clippers aren’t sharp enough, the tooth may fracture lengthwise down to the root, which is painful.

, As a preventative or if you know your hamster is prone to dental problems and has had its teeth trimmed by the vet in the past, give your hamster orchard wood to gnaw on. Gnawing on untreated wood can help your hamster wear down his teeth so they don’t get too long. Or, you could give him a hard dog biscuit which has the added benefit of giving your hamster calcium for strong bones and teeth.Types of wood that are safe to give your hamster include: elm, ash, maple, birch, apple, orange, pear, and peach. Avoid giving: cedar, plum, redwood, cherry, and oleander.

, Once your hamster has had a professional filing, maintain her teeth by filing her teeth every two weeks. Carefully grasp your hamster with your thumb under her chin to immobilize her head. Gently place a diamond file rasp horizontally in her mouth so the rough surface is against the tip of the incisors. Draw the file to and fro to gently rasp down the tooth.If in doubt, only remove a small amount of tooth each time you file. Or, ask the veterinarian to show you how to file your hamster’s teeth.

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