Why is a dental X-ray important for animals?
X-rays of the teeth provide more information about the status of the tooth roots and jaw. It is only with a dental X-ray that all damage or changes and their implications can be diagnosed. The vet can then see how urgent the need for further treatment is and what measures must be adopted.
Without a dental X-ray only part of the animal’s tooth is seen. The remaining part is located within the jaw, and this is where the most common dental diseases occur. This region is inaccessible without a dental X-ray. X-rays of the teeth and/or jaw are therefore taken so that a precise conclusion can be drawn about disease.
How to know if your pet has toothache
Your cat or dog refuses its food or swallows it hastily without chewing. Tilting the head and bad breath can also suggest toothache.
Toothache in animals can sometimes not be spotted at all. Animals often suffer in silence without showing any signs.
Regular check-ups with the vet are therefore advisable. Dental X-ray is used if major damage to the tooth is suspected.
Dental X-ray in animals – what it can reveal
- Malformations of the teeth
- Missing teeth
- Teeth that are present but have not erupted
- Tooth fractures
- Damage in the jaw
- Tooth root problems
The special case of FORL
About 70% of all cats suffer from FORL, a painful dental disease of cats (feline odontoclastic resorptive lesion), in which the tooth and the tooth root are destroyed slowly.
FORL can be identified clinically in only 12 % of cases. This is because the damage (lesion) is located beneath the gum and below the bony tooth socket (alveolar margin). The tooth above appears completely healthy. Whether FORL is present and how extensive it is can only be discovered by a dental X-ray.
How does dental X-ray work in animals?
Dental X-ray is an imaging procedure in which the teeth and jaw are shown as a two-dimensional silhouette. This requires an X-ray beam. A general anaesthetic is necessary for your pet to stay calm for X-ray. If lesions are found on the X-ray, these can be treated immediately in many cases. For example, tartar can be removed or a dental brace can be applied in dogs.
Classic dental X-ray
For a classic dental X-ray a suitable X-ray film is placed in the animal’s mouth. This is then X-rayed and developed.
Digital dental X-ray in animals
No X-ray film is needed in this case. The digital detector system irradiates the mouth region and shows the images directly on a screen. The individual teeth and in particular their roots can be shown very well in high resolution by digital X-rays.