February is Pet Dental Care Month, and healthy mouths are on everyone’s mind. Most pet owners know that good pet dental care can help to keep your pet happier and healthier, and that routine exams and cleanings are essential to accomplish this.

Did you realize, however, that not all dental procedures are created equal?

Your trusted pet professionals at Union Lake Veterinary Hospital use full mouth dental radiographs to help examine your pet’s mouth in a more thorough manner. Dental X-rays are an essential part of your pet’s oral health care, something we take very seriously.

More About Dental X-Rays for Pets

You probably don’t think twice when your dentist requests to take films of your mouth during your routine visits, and the same should be true for your pets. These intra-oral X-rays are taken with small plates placed inside the mouth, just as your dentist obtains them for you. The only problem is that pets do not hold these in their mouth effectively while awake and generally need to be anesthetized for the procedure.

While there is some radiation utilized during the procedure, just as with any other X-ray, the risks are minimal and are greatly outweighed by the benefits.

The Importance of Full Mouth Radiographs

The American Veterinary Dental College cites dental radiographs as one of the most important diagnostic tools available to a veterinary dentist. But why?

Full mouth X-rays have the ability to provide so much more information about your pet’s oral health than is visible to the naked eye. Dental X-rays can help us to:

  • Evaluate the teeth in their entirety (including the 2/3 of the tooth under the gum line)Establish a baseline for what is normal for an individual pet
  • Determine if problems such as retained roots or un-erupted teeth exist
  • Decide the best course of action for extracting difficult teeth
  • Identify early problems such as bone cysts or even cancer
  • Evaluate joints like the TMJ
  • Determine the extent of a tooth fracture
  • Get a better look at the soft tissues of the mouth

In fact, without dental radiographs it is estimated that we may miss significant problems in up to 75% of our pet dental patients.

By obtaining full mouth dental X-rays on our patients, we are better able to diagnose a pet patient’s problems first, then establish the most effective plan for treating them. It is an important step in good dental care.

Union Lake Veterinary Hospital believes that full mouth dental X-rays are essential for helping your pets stay healthy and strong. Before having any dental work performed on your pet, be sure that dental radiographs are being utilized so that you and your pet can get the most out of the procedure.