|Ranee reviewing dental radiographs.|
Although your pet’s teeth may look healthy on the surface, problems and disease may be lurking below. Two-thirds of your pet’s teeth are under the gingiva (or gumline). This makes dental radiographs (xrays) an invaluable tool. Studies have shown that without dental radiographs, significant dental disease is missed in up to 75% of pets! Here at KAH, we utilize our dental radiograph machine to avoid missing problematic areas and teeth.
|Hidden abscess. Tooth visually looks fine.|
Dental radiographs allow assessment of tooth fractures, internal tooth disease, disease associated with structures around the tooth, cysts, abscesses, bone loss, tumors, or foreign objects. X-rays show if teeth are positioned wrong, are abnormal, or are non-vital (dead).
Some teeth appear to be missing. Dental radiographs help to determine if they have broken off below the gum line, have been “eaten away” due to dental disease, or have never erupted. Un-erupted teeth can cause cyst formation and although oral cysts are benign, as they expand from continuous fluid secretion, they can cause severe local destruction. Bone, periodontal tissues, and teeth can be destroyed.
|Bone loss from bacteria in the mouth.|
Bone loss also occurs when the bacteria that is present along the gumline attacks the bone and the ligament that holds each tooth in place. Abscesses can form when bacteria invades the bone around the root tip. Some infections are buried deep into solid bone and seldom drain to the outside. These abscesses are hidden infections and can only be seen on dental radiographs. Abscesses of the maxillary (upper) fourth premolar can erode through the bone, resulting in a swelling below the eye.
Many of these diseases can cause pets discomfort and pain. They aren’t able to tell us where it hurts. Without the aid of dental radiographs, these problems may not be uncovered until the problem worsens!
If you have questions about your pet’s teeth, or are interested in more information please contact Kingsbrook Animal Hospital located in Frederick, MD at 301-631-6900.