Your Guinea Pig Teeth Guide
This article will take a look at guinea pig teeth, what we need to be aware of as guinea pig owners, and how to properly care for your guinea pig’s teeth.
Guinea pigs can be prone to dental problems and dental disease, it’s essential to avoid potential problems by paying attention to their teeth.
How many teeth do guinea pigs have?
Guinea pigs have 20 teeth in all.
- Four incisor teeth are the teeth you see in front of their mouths, one pair of upper incisors and one pair of lower incisors. They are used to cut up the food.
- Four premolars are located next to the incisors on each side of their mouth, with two upper premolars and two lower premolars. These are useful to grind the food up for easy swallowing.
- Twelve molars are located furthest back next to the premolars. These are back teeth and make up the majority of their teeth. They have six upper molars and six lower molars. Their function is the same as the premolars to grind the food for swallowing.
Do guinea pigs have canine teeth?
Guinea pigs do not have canine teeth; they have a diastema gap, and then their premolars start. You won’t be able to see this gap very often and wouldn’t even know it’s there because the cheek fat fills this gap in.
What do open-rooted teeth mean?
Guinea pigs have open-rooted teeth, which means that they are constantly growing. It’s essential that they eat a proper diet which helps them file down their teeth and prevent dental problems.
How fast do guinea pig teeth grow?
Because guinea pigs’ teeth are open rooted, they are constantly growing. A guinea pig’s teeth usually grow 1-2 mm in one month. That equates to about 2.9ish inches a year.
A high-fiber diet helps guinea pigs keep their teeth filed down. If they had human teeth, their teeth would be wrecked in a short amount of time from the roughage of their diet, so they have open-rooted teeth.
How long should guinea pig teeth be?
A guinea pigs’ teeth, the incisors to be exact, should be 1.5 cm or 0.5 inches long. The best way to keep their teeth filed down is a proper diet. The front teeth and the bottom teeth should line up equally; if they do not then it’s best to see a veterinarian to help intervene.
Do guinea pigs lose teeth?
Guinea pigs are born with teeth, and if they do have teeth fall out, a new one will replace the missing one as many times as it happens.
Guinea pigs do sometimes break their teeth; a nice break isn’t much to worry about as it will grow back in line with the other teeth, but if it’s a break down to the root or a jagged break you should see a vet.
How do you keep your guinea pig’s teeth healthy?
A guinea pig’s diet plays a huge role in healthy teeth.
A part of a healthy diet means they are eating lots of hay, not just hay but good quality hay like Timothy hay.
Make sure you’re giving your guinea pig the best type of hay for their needs.
A healthy guinea pig needs their diet to be 80% hay; the constant munching of hay will keep their teeth filed down to a proper size.
Vitamin C is another critical component of a healthy guinea pig in all aspects, not just oral health.
If they don’t get enough vitamin c, they will have tooth problems and potentially other health problems.
Guinea pigs cannot make their own vitamin c and must have a supplement.
Typically good quality guinea pig pellets will provide for their needs. As well as a vitamin c supplement if needed.
It’s essential to avoid any dental problems as they can be a lot of upkeep if you need to have the vet file down their teeth regularly.
What are signs something could be wrong with your guinea pigs’ teeth?
- the slobbers, which is a serious form of drooling
- loss of appetite or only wanted to eat soft foods
- misaligned teeth
- overgrown teeth
- face swelling
- not doing much moving
- weight loss is the most common
What are common teeth problems in pet guinea pigs?
- Elongated roots
- Broken teeth (tooth fractures)
What are elongated roots in guinea pigs?
Elongated roots mean that the tooth roots that should be growing away from the gum line grow into the gum line. As you can imagine, this is painful and causes other problems in their small skull structure.
What are signs of elongated roots in guinea pigs?
- Bulging or tearing eyes due to the teeth putting pressure on the eyeballs.
- No appetite due to the pain
- weight loss due to not eating.
How do you treat elongated roots in guinea pigs?
It’s essential to take your guinea pig to the vet for treatment.
They will do an x-ray to ensure that elongated roots are the problem.
They will then file down the teeth to shorter than they typically are to help relieve the pressure; unfortunately, this will be something that will need to be repeated regularly in order to keep them out of pain.
Some experts say if you can use a chin sling, which is what it sounds like, but for a small animal, you can help slow down the elongated roots.
Talk to your veterinarian about what will work with your pet.
It’s always good to do a weekly health check on your guinea pig and that includes a good dental health check at home.
Your guinea pig might not be into a home dental check and if that’s the case or you’re uncomfortable it’s best to bring them to the vet if you suspect that there is a problem.
The vet has special tools to help them see into their mouth, which you won’t have at home.
But you can do your best if you suspect a problem.
It’s best to at least get a look at the incisors weekly if you suspect no other dental problems.
What is malocclusion in guinea pigs?
Malocclusion is when a guinea pig’s teeth become uneven and or not filed down properly.
When this happens, a tooth can start pointing in the wrong direction towards either their tongue or their cheek.
This typically occurs in both the tops and bottoms of teeth simultaneously but can happen to one set, but in turn, will throw off both groups if left untreated.
In malocclusion, teeth can wreak havoc on your guinea pig’s mouth by causing sores, abscesses, infections, and injuries.
Malocclusion is a severe problem that needs vet care, and early diagnosis is best.
What are the signs my guinea pig has malocclusion?
- wiggling ears when they eat
- weight loss from lack of eating
- drooling, which is called the slobbers in guinea pigs
- not being able to pick up food as well
- they appear to be in pain; they are hiding from, hunched over, staying in one spot
- unable to groom themselves like normal
How do you treat malocclusion in guinea pigs?
It’s important to get treatment for malocclusion early so you can get your guinea pig back to good health.
A veterinarian will file your guinea pig’s teeth down to the proper lengths to correct the problem.
In troublesome cases, you might have to go back regularly to do this, but it should be correct on its own with proper nutrition and planning unless it is inherited.
How do you prevent malocclusion from happening to your guinea pig?
- Having unlimited high fiber hay available at all times to help wear their teeth
- Making sure they are meeting their vitamin c requirements
- Making sure all their dietary needs are being addressed
- Guinea pig safe treats and natural roughage will help keep the teeth filed down
- Check your guinea pigs’ teeth and behavior weekly to catch a problem quickly.
What are tooth features in guinea pigs?
A tooth fracture, simply put, is a broken tooth.
The most common cause of a broken tooth in a guinea pig is a lack of vitamin c.
Vitamin C is essential in teeth and bone development and many other things.
Guinea pig’s teeth grow back fairly quickly and aren’t a reason for concern unless it’s not a clean break or it gets infected.
How quickly does a guinea pig’s tooth grow back?
Because guinea pigs’ teeth are continually growing, it only takes about three weeks for a tooth to grow back.
What do I need to watch for when my guinea pig’s tooth breaks?
- That malocclusion doesn’t happen
- A jagged cut means you need to see a vet to possibly intervene so that the rough cut doesn’t injure other tissues and cause infections, etc.
Other guinea pig teeth problems can happen, but these three are the most common and often lead to other oral conditions.
If you ever have a concern about your pet, you should take it to an experienced veterinarian familiar with treating guinea pigs.
How do I check my guinea pig’s incisor teeth?
- Wash your hands and gently grab your guinea pig and wrap them in a cozy towel or blanket.
- Head to a spot with good lighting and place your guinea pig on your lap on its back.
- Take your thumb and index finger to gently open their mouth so you can get a good look at their incisors.
- The incisors are the front top and bottom teeth and the easiest to examine. The bottom and top of the incisors should match up; if they look like they are different lengths, get them to a vet. These overgrown incisors will need to be shaved down in order to stop further dental damage.
You can try to move on and take a look at their molars, but it’s typically pretty hard to see due to their cheeks being little fat pads (buccal pad) that cover the teeth and usually have food hanging out back there.
The vet has a special tool called buccal pad separators that make it easier to provide dental care.
In conclusion, to keep your guinea pig teeth in the best condition, you need to make sure your piggy’s diet is balanced receiving what they need.
Check out this article if you want to read further on why hay is so vital to teeth and a well-balanced guinea pig.
It’s important to find a vet you’re comfortable with, so if you have a problem, you have somewhere to take your furry friend.
Want to learn more about guinea pigs? Check out these articles-
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