Nov 15 2010

Is it important to take dental x-rays during dental cleaning of your pet’s teeth?

Yes it is. Dental x-rays allow us to see “under the gums” things we cannot see when conducting a dental exam.

Because 85 % of all pets over the age of four in America have periodontal disease (an advanced form of dental disease) dental x-rays are necessary. Cats are prone to odontocalstic lesions (often called tooth neck-lesions), which often hide under the gums and make it easy to miss without x-rays. Adult dogs and cats can suffer from abscesses or fractured teeth under the gums. These two conditions make x-rays a necessity.

Puppies and pets under four years of age may also need dental x-rays as some may have a an impacted tooth or a deciduous tooth growing in the wrong direction — a condition that can only be diagnosed with dental x-rays.

Finally, since your pet is already sedated for the procedure, why not do a thorough job? You would expect it from your dentist too.

Dr. Ohad Barnea is a 1992 graduate of Tufts University, School of Veterinary Medicine and the owner of Tenafly Veterinary Center and Cliffside Animal Hospital.

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