Dental disease is commonly seen in veterinary practice.
Rabbits have teeth that continually grow throughout their life. Their top teeth normally grind against their bottom teeth to keep them in check. You may therefore notice overgrown front teeth (incisors), or that they stick out in the wrong direction but it is much more difficult to see rabbit cheek teeth. You may notice subtle changes, for example a change in their appetite or grooming less, but dental disease can also cause eye and gut problems as well.
The vet will examine your rabbit’s mouth to check the length of the incisors, the position of their teeth and whether the teeth are meeting properly (occlusion) and grinding down correctly. Elongated incisors will be shortened or extracted.
If the cheek teeth do not meet properly, sharp edges or “spurs” can develop. These spurs will cause pain if they rub against your rabbit’s cheeks or tongue. The vet will file these sharp edges down to reduce pain and allow your rabbit to eat and groom as normal. If the teeth are not meeting properly (malocclusion), these spurs may redevelop and your rabbit may need them filed down again.
There is something you can do to help though. The most common cause for dental problems is inappropriate diet. Using pellets instead of multi-coloured feed prevents rabbits from picking and choosing what they eat, which causes them to miss out on nutrients, and rabbits also need fibre to chew on. Ask your vet for advice so you can keep your rabbits mouth as healthy as possible.