Reptile overgrown upper jaw is a serious condition that can affect many reptiles. Reptiles with overgrown upper jaws are commonly seen in veterinary clinics. This condition, known as malocclusion, can occur in any species of reptile but is most often seen in bearded dragons, iguanas and chameleons. Malocclusion occurs when the upper jaw becomes misaligned with the lower jaw, resulting in an overbite or underbite that prevents the reptile from being able to close their mouth. This condition can be caused by improper nutrition, abnormal jaw growth or injury to their jaw or teeth.
Malocclusion can lead to difficulty eating and drinking, malnutrition, dehydration and other medical issues if left untreated. It’s important that a veterinarian examines any reptile with an overgrown upper jaw in order to properly diagnose and treat their condition. Treatment options can include the use of corrective splints, surgery or special diets. With proper care and treatment, most reptiles can recover from malocclusion and return to normal.
Symptoms of Reptile Overgrown Upper Jaw
The symptoms of a reptile overgrown upper jaw can include:
- Difficulty eating and drinking
- Excessive salivation
- Jaw swelling
- Gums or skin around the mouth bruising
- Overall inability to close their mouth
Other signs can include food falling out of their mouth when attempting to eat, excessive gagging or choking when swallowing food, and difficulty breathing due to an obstructed airway.
In addition to these physical symptoms, owners could also notice changes in their reptile’s behavior. Reptiles with an overgrown upper jaw can become lethargic and uninterested in food or other activities. They could appear to be in pain or have aggressive behavior due to discomfort caused by their condition.
Diagnosing Reptile Overgrown Upper Jaw
Diagnosing an overgrown upper jaw requires a complete examination of their mouth and jaw area by a veterinarian. The vet will need to take X-rays or use other imaging techniques in order to assess the extent of the problem and determine an appropriate plan of treatment. The vet will also perform a physical exam in order to examine their tissues, bones and teeth in order to rule out any underlying problems.
Stages of Reptile Overgrown Upper Jaw
Reptile overgrown upper jaw can be split into three stages: mild, moderate and severe.
In the mild stage, the upper jaw is slightly misaligned with the lower jaw, causing an underbite or overbite that causes difficulty eating and drinking.
In the moderate stage, the upper jaw has become more severely misaligned with the lower jaw and is causing pain and discomfort.
In the severe stage, the misalignment of the jaws is causing difficulty breathing and an inability to close their mouth.
Treating Reptile Overgrown Upper Jaw
Treatment for an overgrown upper jaw will depend on the severity of the condition. Mild cases might be treated with corrective splints or braces to align their jaws. For more severe cases, surgery might be necessary in order to realign the jaws and correct the malocclusion. In addition, special diets designed to meet the nutritional needs of the reptile could be recommended.
Preventing Reptile Overgrown Upper Jaw
Overgrown upper jaws can be prevented by giving your reptile proper nutrition and a healthy environment. A balanced diet is necessary in order to ensure that they’re receiving all of the essential nutrients needed for healthy bone and tooth development. It’s important to provide safe, appropriate substrates and spaces for your reptile to live in order to prevent injury or trauma to their mouth or jaw. Regular check-ups with a qualified veterinarian can help to identify any potential problems early, allowing for prompt treatment and preventing further complications.