The Importance of Dental Radiography
Stephen Juriga DVM, Diplomate AVDC [email protected]
Intra-oral radiographs are an essential part of a comprehensive oral examination and have become a key element in the diagnosis and formulation of a pet’s dental treatment plan. Yes, teeth can be cleaned and polished without radiographic images, but a complete periodontal assessment and treatment cannot be performed without intraoral radiography.
• It is often difficult to provide good quality dental care without dental radiographs.
• Current practice standards dictate a higher level of care than a technician removing visible tartar and the extraction of the “loose tooth.” In fact, AAHA standards recommends dental radiographs for all patients, combined with probing and visual inspection of the teeth and oral tissues.
• Pathology noted on oral examination (gingival recession, furcation exposure, tooth fractures) or the loss of attachment noted upon probing (pockets >3mm in the dogs, >1mm in the cats) must receive radiographic evaluation.
• In one published report intraoral radiographs revealed clinically important pathology in 27.8 % of canine patients and 41.7% of feline patients when no abnormal findings were noted on the initial examination.
• In another study, in patients with abnormal exam findings, additional pathology was revealed via radiography in 50% of dogs and 54% of cats.
Intra-Oral Radiograph Uses
1. Treatment planning and follow-up care in pets with periodontal disease. When the gingival sulcus depth, measured with a periodontal probe, is greater than normal (>3mm in dogs, >1mm in cats).
2. With advanced periodontal disease. For proper extraction decision making and the prevention of mandibular fractures.
3. Pre- and post-extraction cases to evaluate root morphology, root fracture, root ankylosis, or root abscess, as well as assisting in the removal of fractured root tips.
4. Periodontal and endodontic evaluation of teeth with attrition or abrasive wear, discoloration, and fractures teeth with pulp exposure.
5. Evaluating of persistent primary dentition when found with adult counterpart. Always radiograph before removal.
6. Evaluating tooth resorptive lesions.
7. Treatment planning in the feline stomatitis patient.
8. Evaluating oral masses and facial swellings.
9. Oronasal fistula diagnosis and treatment planning.
10. Diagnostics in the painful mouth patient, the chronic rhinitis patient, and the oral malodor patient.
11. Evaluating the presence or absence of unerupted or impacted teeth.
• Dupont G, Debowes L: Atlas of Dental Radiography in Dogs and Cats, Saunders 2009