Bad breath and yellow teeth aren’t the only issues related to your pet’s dental care. Periodontal disease and other dental problems can lead to more serious health issues, including kidney and liver problems and changes to the heart muscle. That’s why a thorough annual examination of your pet’s teeth and gums is so critical. As your pet ages, these yearly dental checkups become more important. Like all of us, dogs and cats require more maintenance as they age to prevent pain and dental deterioration.
Why are X-rays necessary for pet dental care?
Veterinary dentistry covers a lot of territory, including cleaning and repairs. It begins with an oral exam, which may include radiographs, or X-rays, of your pet’s mouth. Most dental disease happens below the gumline, where a vet can’t see without a little help. Radiographs allow us to evaluate the health of your pet’s jaw and tooth roots. Without X-rays, your pet could be suffering from exposed roots or other problems that we can’t see.
When are X-rays necessary?
Just like you, your pet needs regular dental care. A vet should check their teeth at least once a year to identify any early signs of potential problems. Annual maintenance also keeps your pet’s mouth healthy to prevent problems. Because dental health begins to decline after about three years of age, X-rays become more important with age. X-rays may also be necessary if you begin to notice symptoms of dental problems, including:
- Out of character irritability
- Abnormal chewing or drooling
- Difficulty holding food in the mouth
- Reduced appetite or refusal to eat
- Pain in or around the mouth
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Swelling in the areas surrounding the mouth
What are the most common dental health issues diagnosed with X-ray?
Most pets don’t have cavity issues like we do. However, X-rays are able to help with a diagnosis of other dental problems, including:
- Damaged or exposed roots
- Periodontal disease
- Abscesses or infected teeth
- Cysts or tumors in the mouth