Dental radiography for pets involves taking x-ray images of the mouth, teeth, and jaws. The procedure is akin to taking dental x-rays in humans. In fact, the digital dental x-ray machine we use at Passionate Paws is exactly the same machine used at most human dentists. The main difference between the two procedures is that to accurately and safely take x-rays of a pet’s mouth he or she must be placed under general anesthesia, which is why dental x-rays are usually taken during a scheduled dental cleaning or surgery.
The importance of dental x-rays is to provide a veterinarian with a complete picture of the pet’s mouth beyond what can be seen from a visual examination. In my experience, I have uncovered many hidden dental problems — fractures, root abscesses, impactions, tumors, retained teeth, and feline resorptive lesions — that laid below the gumline and would not have been seen without the aid of dental x-rays. Veterinarians also use dental x-rays during tooth removals to ensure all of the roots have been removed.
Dental x-rays are safe, completely painless, and noninvasive. Thanks to modern, digital x-ray machines the procedure takes only minutes to perform, reducing the overall time a pet is under anesthesia during his or her dental cleaning or surgery.