Diagnostic Imaging - Dental Radiology

Many tooth conditions can be missed without dental X- rays. High resolution digital dental radiographs show the tooth pulp, roots, crown and surrounding bone of each tooth with dramatic clarity. This information helps the veterinarian uncover hidden conditions such as tooth abscesses, cavities and fractures which can cause pain in your pet. Often the owner is not aware of the problem since most animals continue to eat.

Above left, tartar and plaque covers the base of the tooth and hides potential problems. Above right, on X-ray the arrows outline an area where we can clearly see that all of the jaw bone and associated gum line has receded from the root of the tooth leaving it exposed to disease and pain.

FIGURE 1 (left):
FIGURE 2 (right: In some patients the teeth can be so affected that the crown can actually break away leaving exposed roots (Figure 1 above). There is pain from the tooth disease, the fracture of the tooth, and then the exposed root fragment. There can be remodeling over time (Fig 2), as long as the infection is under control. Digital dental radiographs clearly identify these situations and are essential in helping to plan for the ideal treatment for your pet.

FIGURE 3: These are examples of typical root lesions found in cats. Note that these teeth appeared perfectly normal on physical exam. At our hospital we recommend full mouth dental radiographs for all cats because of this. Most pets that are over 6 years of age have some form of dental disease. It is instinctive for pets not to show pain; therefore a thorough examination is required.

Take at this collage of digital images from a dog’s mouth and try and decide which teeth are abnormal.

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