Many people don’t realize it, but veterinary dental radiographs are painless, very safe, and noninvasive. They are actually very useful for evaluating tooth roots and surrounding bone.

What Are Veterinary Dental Radiographs for Pets?

A radiograph – sometimes called an x-ray – is a type of photograph that reveals the body’s bones and internal organs. The procedure for obtaining a radiograph is called radiography and it involves obtaining X-ray images of the mouth, teeth, and jaws.

Veterinary dental radiographs are generally obtained during a routine dental examination and cleaning. However, in cases of facial trauma or head trauma, they may be taken to assess the extent of damage to the mouth, teeth, and jaws.

Dental radiographs can help your veterinarian assess the health of your pet’s tooth roots and identify a variety of problems that are not visible just by looking at your pet’s teeth, including:

  • Tumors involving the bones of the jaw;
  • Tooth impactions (teeth that are wedged in or can’t erupt normally);
  • Tooth fractures;
  • Tooth root abscesses;
  •  Retained teeth (teeth that failed to erupt at the proper time);
  •  Feline resorptive lesions (painful erosions on the tooth surface).

Because sedation is required for obtaining these veterinary dental radiographs, your veterinarian may recommend blood work and another preanesthetic testing before taking x-rays of your pet. Sedation is needed so that your pet can be properly positioned for the radiographs to be taken. During the procedure, your pet will be monitored closely to ensure a safe recovery from sedation.

Dental radiography typically takes only a few minutes. Some veterinarians use traditional equipment, whereas other practices use digital radiography equipment.

After examining the radiographs, your veterinarian can identify problem teeth or other issues that may need to be addressed during the dental cleaning. They also use radiographs after procedures such as tooth extractions to confirm that all the tooth roots have been removed.

What Are the Benefits and Risks of Dental Radiography?

Dental radiography has many benefits and very minimal risks. It is very safe, completely painless, and noninvasive. It is available in many veterinary practices and generally takes only a few minutes. Because the level of radiation exposure needed to perform radiography is very low, even pregnant females and very young pets can undergo radiography.

In the vast majority of cases, the benefits of performing dental radiography far outweigh any possible risks. It’s is a valuable tool for your veterinarian because it can provide important information about the health of your pet’s teeth and gums.

Dogs cannot simply tell us when their teeth are diseased, and some dogs never show that they’re in pain. In many cases, veterinary dental radiographs are the only way to know your pet has a dental problem that can be treated, relieving discomfort.

Cleaning a dog’s teeth without x-rays often results in missed opportunities to improve the quality of life and health of your dog. Don’t put your pet’s health at risk – call our office today to schedule an appointment.

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