Who has a dog (or cat) that enjoys licking you and being right up there in your face, giving you love all the time? I know I do, and boy do they surprise you with stinky breath sometimes! That stinky breath doesn’t have to stay and may be indicating that your dog or cat needs their teeth cleaned.
Many veterinarians are very passionate about dog and cat dental health. Cleaning, scaling and polishing (brushing) the teeth is crucial in order to maintain good dental health but there are other things that are recommended to help ensure we are providing everything your pet needs to maintain the health of their teeth and mouth.
Dental xrays are vital to diagnose and treat various forms of dental disease in our pets. We use dental xrays to evaluate the roots of the teeth and the surrounding bone that holds the teeth in place. 70% of the tooth is located below the gum-line therefore taking xrays of all of the teeth is crucial for us to be sure we are doing everything that is needed in order to maintain proper dental health!
Many times, by performing dental xrays, we find disease that is actually worse than what we can detect with our eyes, hands and probes. Even when a tooth looks completely healthy, there can be problems brewing under the gum-line, and in the bone.
Dental x-rays are taken by placing a sensor, or film, in the mouth of the dog or cat. We place the film in specific locations to take the image of different teeth. The x-ray machine must be carefully lined up so that an accurate image of the tooth is obtained. We see so many different sizes and breeds of patients that each patient needs unique placement of the film and x-ray machine. These images then provide us with clear details of the roots of the teeth without other overlapping structures confusing the diagnosis.
Cleaning, scaling and polishing an animal’s teeth as well as dental radiography are a crucial part of maintaining oral health in every dog and cat. In order to clean an animal’s mouth safely and thoroughly and to obtain dental xrays, your pet needs to be placed under general anesthesia. This is so that we can clean their teeth well, protect their airway and keep your pet completely still in order to do a deep cleaning and obtain the perfect xray image. In addition, it may be a little uncomfortable to have the sensor in the pet’s mouth so we want them to be asleep so that we lessen their stress.
Visit your veterinarian so that they can perform an oral exam to ensure your pet is the best health possible! It’s Dental Health Month here at Mountain Mobile Veterinary and the Animal Hospital Center and we’d love to do a free dental exam on your pet to determine if they need a cleaning. Happy September everyone!