Dental X-Rays Are ESSENTIAL!
Every pet that is anesthetized for dental care at AVC gets x-rays of their teeth, just like you do when you see your dentist. But do you know why?
Two-thirds of your pet's tooth is below the gumline, invisible to the naked eye. Those outwardly-invisible teeth can have problems just like the one-third you can see. These problems can hurt, too - and your pet has no real way to communicate that. Two sizeable studies in 1998 showed that over 25% of dogs and 40% of cats had significant dental problems that were only visible with x-rays.
X-rays are also vital when we address dental problems. Another study in 2014 looking at teeth that had been extracted without dental x-rays found that over 80% of them had evidence of incomplete extraction - that is, bits of root were left behind. Worse yet, over half showed evidence of problems due to this that were likely causing the pet discomfort.
Here are a couple of recent patients that had problems we'd have missed without x-rays. On the left, the dark halo around the root signifies an abscess in a chihuahua. On the right is a root fragment in a Birman cat - the gingiva had grown over, making it invisible without x-rays.