The Science

Hereditary abnormalities of the jaw bones and/or teeth, tooth root abscesses and jaw injury can all cause dental problems. Lack of treatment may then result in malocclusion (improper meeting of the upper and lower incisors).

Because of misalignment of the jaws in malocclusion, the incisors will continually overgrow, due to the inability of the rat to be able to grind them together properly.

The correct teeth shape and size for a rat

Sometimes teeth may also fall out, or be pulled out accidentally when being trimmed. In most cases the tooth will grow back, since the incisors continuously grow throughout a rat's life.


  • Overly long incisor (front) teeth
  • Misaligned incisors
  • Noticeable lack of chewing hard foods
  • Weight loss
  • Sores/abscesses around or in the mouth
  • Malocclusion symptoms may include excess salivation, mouth rubbing, odorous breath


Diagnosis should be pretty easy, just basing it on observation. The vet should always make sure to find out the underlying cause, if any is present, as well as clipping any overgrowths.


Rats with oversized incisors must have their overgrown incisors trimmed periodically by an experienced veterinarian or veterinary technician.

Antibiotics may be prescribed if their are signs of infection. If there are signs of pain, ask you Vet about some form of pain killing agent.


If there is signs of the problem being hereditary, do not breed from the animal.

Always make sure the rat has a good supply of gnawing materials and plenty of hard foods to help keep the teeth from overgrowing.