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The Importance of Dental Radiographs

Today’s topic is on Dental Radiographs and the importance of having them done with your pet’s routine cleaning.


Full mouth dental radiographs give us a lot of information on the structure and health of each tooth from the crown to the root.  Many times, a tooth can look very healthy to the naked eye but it is with radiographs that we find a diseased root that can cause pain or discomfort to our furbabies.

(Figure 1)

Here is an x-ray where an abscess was found.

(Figure 2)

The eruption of the abscess was found on examination of the mouth.

(Figure 3)

There was also a deep pocket found which indicates a problem.  The tooth needed to be extracted and the pet needed to be placed on oral antibiotics to help get rid of the infection.  If not extracted, the pet would likely be in discomfort, have trouble eating, and require antibiotics +/- extraction in the future.

(Figure 4)

Here is an x-ray where resorptive lesions was found.  The middle tooth is healthy, no abnormalities with it.  Note one root of two missing on the tooth to the right and not seated nicely within the jaw like the middle tooth.  On the left tooth, it isn’t seated nicely either and there is also a chunk missing on the right side of the tooth.

A resorptive lesion simply means that the body has begun to resorb it’s own tooth read more. The cause is unknown, but most cats above the age of 6 will have at least one. These can be quite painful and are normally found best by radiographs but can also be found by probing the tooth in which the cat (even under anesthetic) will be reactive in some fashion. These are important to extract due to the pain they can cause and likelihood of regression if restored.

Dental radiographs are just as important in pet’s health as it is in our health. It is a small price to pay in order to prevent a pet from having any further discomfort and to prevent them from having to go under general anesthesia a second time for a problem undiagnosed during a prophylactic cleaning.



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