Rabbit/Small Mammal Dental Services
Many people do not realize that rabbit’s teeth grow continually throughout their life. Not only do they have their front teeth for grabbing and shearing off pieces of their food, but also they have a set of teeth farther back in their mouths for grinding and crushing their food. These teeth are called pre-molars and molars (cheek teeth).
Rabbits have 6 upper and 5 lower cheek teeth. The pre molars and molars do not line up exactly on top of one another. Instead they are offset so the upper teeth sit just outside of the lower teeth. There is approximately ¾ of the surfaces that overlap when they chew, leaving a portion of the tooth that is not grinding food. The part that hangs over can grow longer over time creating a sharp edge or “spur” that needs to be filed.
Typically, the teeth will need to be filed starting at 2-3 years of age. There are two procedures. One is called a hand file, which is done either with or without sedation and if the bunny is calm enough can be done on an outpatient visit. This procedure is generally for maintenance of teeth or for less severe spurs. If the teeth spurs are more severe, then the procedure would require heavy sedation or anesthesia and is called a “molar float”. This involves using a motorized rotary file to smooth out the rough edges. This can also be done to smooth out uneven teeth.