Dental and Oral Radiology
It is virtually impossible to practice veterinary dentistry without dental radiographs!
Dental radiology is the most vital tool in veterinary dentistry. Dental radiographs ( X-rays) are essential in making an accurate diagnosis. The diagnosis is the basis for understanding the prognosis, and in deciding how to treat our patients. Dental radiographs are essential in performing dental procedures, in evaluating procedural success and in documentation of dental and oral health. Please say "no Thank You" to any dental procedure including teeth cleaning without dental x-rays.
Why would you want dental radiographs when teeth cleaning?
We provide a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment (COHAT) for pets when the teeth are cleaned. Dental x-rays with periodontal probing help with the assessment. It makes no sense to place an animal under anesthesia to clean their teeth, and miss an important problem. If you don't look (take x-rays), you most likely will not find problems that need attention.
Two thirds of our dog's and cat's teeth are under the gingiva (gums), and are not viewable. Dental radiographs help in the assessment. They allow assessment of the teeth (fractures or internal disease), the surrounding soft tissues (periodontal disease, stomatitis, CUPS, cysts, draining tracks, facial swellings, fistulas or tumors), the joints (TMJ or mandibular symphysis) and of the bone (jaw fractures). Dental radiographs can reveal subgingival (under the gums) foreign objects, cysts and tumors.
Studies have shown that without dental radiographs, significant pathology is missed in up to 75% of pets.
Diagnose first, establish treatment plan, then treat meticulously!
Consider a pet that is rubbing the face, gulping or excessively salivating, and you don't see a reason for these behaviors. Would you just hope for the behavior to go away without treatment? Providing antibiotics and or steroids (without a diagnosis) is rarely a beneficial treatment on a long term basis, and may be harmful for the pet. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics may be harmful to pets and people by creating resistant bacteria (for more information, Google MRSA).
Dental radiographs may identify a foreign object entrapped between the teeth, or in the gingival sulcus. The logical treatment would obviously be to remove the foreign object. This problem will not resolve with the use of medications alone!
We always diagnose first, plan the best treatment and perform the necessary treatment meticulously. Dental radiology replaces a guess with a diagnosis, and allows for the correct treatment to be optimally performed.
Dental radiology for the young patient.
Dental radiographs help determine whether teeth might be abnormal, malpositioned, missing, non-vital (dead) or vital (alive).
This first case could not be diagnosed or treated without dental radiographs!
This young patient had a severe facial
Non-vital (dead) tooth. Periodontal
probing with dental radiographs
provided the diagnosis.
Dental extraction was appropriately performed.
This radiograph demonstrated an abnormal
adjacent premolar tooth.
Dental radiograph of the extracted
Second young patient being evaluated for normal developing teeth!
This evaluation would not be possible without dental radiographs.
Left lower premolar area.
Left lower molar area.
Persistent primary (baby) canines must be removed when secondary (adult) canines have erupted to avoid malocclusion development.
Persistent right primary canine (baby) tooth.
The presence of the primary and the secondary
(adult) tooth at the same time is a reason
for immediate extraction to avoid malocclusion
Persistent left primary upper canine tooth
same patient as above.
Persistent right primary upper canine tooth.
Notice how thin the primary tooth is.
Root tip fracture of the primary tooth.
Dental radiographs are essential to
locate and remove the fractured root
tip. Note the missing premolar tooth!
Dental radiograph confirms complete
root tip extraction.
Adult dog with dental malformation and malpositioned secondary tooth with persistent primary premolar teeth.
Persistent primary premolar teeth.
This dog would rub the face vigorously.
View of malformed and malpositioned
secondary tooth just below the eye.
Primary teeth extracted which allows
access for the extraction of the malformed
and malpositioned secondary tooth.
The malformed tooth has a dilacerated
Extraction of the malformed, malpositioned
This malformed (dilacerated root),
malpositioned tooth could not have been
completely extracted without dental radiographs.
Dental radiographs identify abnormal dilacerated (curved) roots.
This young dog was presented because
the primary (baby) teeth failed to erupt.
Radiographs reveal the diagnosis;
severely dilacerated roots.
Every time a tooth is missing, a dental radiograph is required. Unerupted teeth can cause dentigerous cyst formation. These cysts are locally destructive and can result in jaw fracture or facial swelling.
Left facial swelling; extraoral view.
Left facial swelling intraoral view.
Cyst formation in left maxilla (upper arch).
Clinical view of the embedded tooth
within the cyst.
Embedded tooth removed from the cyst.
Dental radiograph confirms the cyst
is free of dental remnants.
Similar case of a missing tooth on the mandible (lower jaw).
Directly behind the canine tooth, the first
premolar tooth appears to be missing.
Unerupted premolar appeared clinically
as a missing tooth. Dentigerous cyst
was the working diagnosis.
The embedded first premolar tooth is
Severe destruction; major bone loss
is evident. Histologic analysis
confirmed dentigerous cyst as the
Oral surgery was performed to remove
the cyst and a osteopromotive (graft)
material was placed to strengthen the
jaw to avoid jaw fracture.
Dental radiographs are essential for performing root canal therapy.
Radiographs needed to perform root canal therapy.
Dental radiographs are needed to evaluate teeth for restorations.
Restoration of endodontically (root canal therapy)
Restoration of canine tooth defect.
Radiographs help with diagnosis and with treatment.
Severe stage 4 of 4 periodontal disease.
These teeth are "hopeless" and due to
excessive bone loss, dental extraction
should be a simple procedure!
The was not as simple
as was expected. Two root tips were
Dental radiographs were essential
to find and remove these root tips.
Radiographs are critically important to help this patient with chronic pain. Dental radiographs can help with the diagnosis, treatment and elimination of pain!
"CUPS" is a painful immune mediated
With "CUPS" there is often severe destructive
periodontal disease. Dental extraction
offers the best long term prognosis.
Severe periodontal disease is diagnosed with dental radiography and periodontal probing. Dental radiographs are needed to perform dental extraction.
Dental radiography is helpful in
performing dental extraction.
Dental radiography allows verification
Discolored teeth are likely to be non-vital (dead), and a health risk for companion animals. Infection can spread from non-vital teeth, through the bloodstream, and throughout the body!
Discolored (tan) incisor teeth are a health
risk for companion animals.
Dental radiographs are essential for
the evaluation of these teeth.
Dental radiographs are essential in the extraction of this fractured tooth.
Fractured lower canine tooth is
demonstrated on this radiograph.
Dental radiographs are necessary for
the of this lower canine tooth.
This cat was presented to the Animal
Emergency Center and Specialty Services
screaming and pawing at her face!
Dental radiographs demonstrate the
Dental radiographs are needed for the diagnosis, treatment planning and the repair of jaw fractures.
Cat; jaw fracture behind the molar tooth.
Dog; bilateral jaw fracture; complication from dental extraction.
Fractuerd teeth must be evaluated with dental radiographs.
Dental radiograph above demonstrates
endodontic disease (large halos at the
lower fourth premolar) tooth roots.
Periodontal disease is also evident in
the premolar area shown.
The "TMJ" is a hinge joint responsible for the opening and closing of the mouth. Dental radiographs can be very useful in the evaluation of the TMJ.
Dental radiograph of the "TMJ".
Dental radiography is essential to perform every aspect of veterinary dentistry.
Dog Dental Care
Cat Dental Care