Pet owners are well aware of the fact that while pet ownership is highly rewarding and satisfying, it definitely demands great responsibility. Not only do pets need food, toys, security and interaction from their owners, they also need comprehensive health care. Preventative health care obtained through regular veterinary examinations is an important part of helping a pet to maintain their overall good health, and it’s certainly far less stressful or expensive than emergency or restorative health care. One important part of preventative health care includes establishing and protecting your pet’s oral health.
Establishing and protecting your pet’s oral health through regular dental examinations and cleanings is absolutely essential to maintaining their overall health, since dental health and general health are very closely related and affect one another. But while a thorough oral examination can be quite useful in determining your pet’s overall dental health and whether there are any major dental issues that need to be addressed and resolved, it cannot reveal what is occurring below the gum line. The internal anatomy of teeth, roots and surrounding bones are a critical component of a pet’s overall dental health, and are the very reason why full dental x-rays are sometimes a necessary part of your pet’s dental care.
About Dental X-Rays
Whereas receiving dental x-rays at somewhat regular intervals is considered a normal part of preventative dental care for humans, they are not normally as common for pets to receive. Veterinarians usually recommend pet dental x-rays if a visual examination of the mouth indicates there may be more extensive dental issues, the pet is indicating dental pain or issues for which there is no obvious reason upon visual examination, or the pet is suffering from a health condition that is often closely related to dental issues.
Due to the fact that pets do not understand the purpose or value of dental procedures, they must be sedated for these procedures–especially for dental x-rays, where image clarity depends upon precision of film placement and lack of movement during imaging. This can also make the entire procedure far less frightening and traumatic for the pet, and far safer for the veterinarian and his technicians. Just as is the case with any necessary veterinary surgeries, anesthesia administered for dental procedures is done with great attention to the pet’s health and safety.
The veterinarian will use either small radiographic films or digital sensors in order to produce clear x-ray images of individual teeth or sections of the mouth or jaw. These images can reveal issues that may otherwise be undetectable, and which can be more easily resolved when found and addressed before they have had a chance to exacerbate. Some of the things that veterinary dental x-rays help with include:
- Evaluation of full tooth health (beyond the ⅓ that is visible above the gum line)
- Establishment of an individual pet’s baseline normal dental health
- Evaluation of possible dental problems, such as retained roots or unerupted teeth
- Determination of best tooth extraction options for difficult teeth
- Identification of bone cysts or cancer so they can be treated early
- Evaluation of the TMJ
- Determination of the full extent of a tooth fracture
- Examination of all oral soft tissues
- And much more.
It is actually estimated that veterinarians who are not able to review full dental x-rays for their patients miss the opportunity to diagnose significant oral problems in as much as seventy-five percent of their dental patients. A full dental x-ray gives the veterinarian an opportunity to fully assess their patient’s oral health and properly diagnose and effectively treat any issues that come to light. As a result, their dental patients tend to experience better overall dental health, which means less discomfort for pets and less expense for pet owners.
Just as is the case with dental x-rays for humans, veterinary dental x-rays do pose some minimal radiation risks. However, with advanced technology these risks are quite minimal, and the benefits obtained by using veterinary dental x-rays certainly far-outweigh the risks.
For more information about full dental x-rays and whether they may be appropriate for your pet, contact La Crosse today.