Hedgehogs have about 44 wee teeth, incisors, premolars, molars and canines, just like humans. Their teeth surface at 3 weeks old. Hedgehogs’ teeth need the same care as that of other pets.
It may be difficult to brush your hedgehog’s teeth, but they should at least be checked by an exotic pet veterinarian.
Your vet will need to put your hedgehog under anesthesia to professionally clean his/her teeth. There is always the risk of putting your pet under anesthesia, but the vet will explain what tests are available to minimize any danger and to safely treat your pet.
The teeth cleaning procedure is the same as it is with dogs, cats, etc. Your vet may opt to take x-rays to get a clearer picture of any problems such as a root abscess and check if a tooth extraction is necessary.
If you brush your hedgehog’s teeth, do not use toothpaste. Simply take a Q-tip and gently rub all the teeth, paying particular attention to the molars.
Sometimes gums will bleed, but not a cause for panic. However, if your pet bleeds excessively or tooth roots are visible, take your hedgehog to the vet as soon as possible.
If teeth are discolored brown or black, brushing may not remove the buildup. You may be able to use your fingernail to lift the plaque. Otherwise, only a professional cleaning will do the job.
The discolorations are caused by food particles, saliva and bacteria. It’s important to remove this plaque because if infection develops, the organs of the body can be adversely affected.
A bump or small lump on your hedgehog’s face, usually below the eye, may indicate an abscess. This requires immediate care by your vet to prevent infection from spreading. The tooth must be extracted and medications prescribed to deal with pain and infection. Follow your vet’s instructions carefully.
Good care of your hedgehog’s teeth will keep your pet healthy all over.