Dental x-rays, or radiography, has greatly enhanced the way we, as veterinarians, practice veterinary dentistry. So much of dental disease, such as periodontal disease, tooth root abscesses, jaw fractures, tumors, etc., occurs below the gumline, that dental radiography is an absolute necessity to practice veterinary dentistry. Dental radiography allows for diagnosis of certain diseases, plan for the appropriate treatment as well as monitoring for treatment success.
Listed below are some of the indications for taking dental x-rays:
1. Periodontal Disease -use them to show bone loss around tooth roots. (Consider extracting those with >50% attachment loss).
2. Broken Teeth – look for signs of root tip infection.
3. Discolored Teeth: look at pulp chamber and signs of root tip infection.
4. Suborbital swellings: look for root tip infection or cystic teeth.
5. Resorptive Lesions: use them to decide if there are roots to be extracted or if periodontal disease is present.
6. Oral Tumors: look for bone involvement.
7. Pre and post tooth extraction: be sure all roots are gone.
8. Missing Teeth: check to be sure they aren’t below the gingival.
9. Oral Surgery: oral fractures or margins for oral tumor surgery.
10. Full Mouth Series: Offer this as an elective service for your clients if not doing so already. Make sure all teeth, roots, and bone appears healthy.