Most of us couldn’t imagine not brushing our teeth a few times a day and checking in with our dentist periodically. Our pets, however, often don’t enjoy the level of dental care and attention we give to ourselves. Many suffer from a complete lack of dental care, and pain, advanced periodontal disease, and other major dental problems are often the result.
At Bayshore Animal Hospital we believe strongly that good dental care is part of the foundation for excellent pet care. The pet dental exam is the basis for this, and not all oral examinations are created equally.
A Thorough Pet Dental Exam
Even for people, a thorough oral exam requires a lot more than just saying “ahhh”, and pets are no different. A thorough pet dental exam includes:
- Observation of all the structures of the oral cavity (tongue, cheeks, palate, pharynx, etc.)
- Evaluation of every tooth from all sides
- Examination of the gingival tissues and their association with the teeth
- Assessment of the bite
- Evaluation of the jawbones and structures below the gum line
In animals this type of examination requires full anesthesia. There is no way to safely and effectively look at all of these structures, let alone clean the teeth thoroughly, without having the pet asleep. Our staff takes this task very seriously, and safe anesthesia is a priority to us.
The Importance of Dental Radiographs
While there is a lot of information that we can gain from an anesthetized oral examination, dental radiographs are essential for a through pet dental exam. About 60% of the tooth lives below the gum line, where we cannot easily see it without x-rays.
Dental radiographs are no different than other radiographs- in fact you have probably had them taken yourself. Just like at your dentist, a small digital sensor is placed in the mouth in order to obtain an image of the teeth and associated bone being evaluated.
Dental radiographs are important to allow us to:
- Assess the health of each tooth thoroughly.
- Identify problems such as broken tooth roots, bone loss, or infection that we can’t see above the gum line.
- Make an accurate diagnosis so that the best treatment plan can be made.
- Establish a baseline for a patient’s dental health, which allows better monitoring in the future.
At Bayshore Animal Hospital, we are excited to utilize top of the line equipment to generate great images. Our Midmark Dental Radiograph unit with Progeny Imaging Software allow us to obtain diagnostic, quality radiographs that help us to provide the best for our pet patients.
A good pet dental exam including dental radiographs are a huge part of proper pet care. Utilizing these tools, we can save teeth, extract painful teeth, and detect oral problems long before our pets would otherwise let us know there was a problem.
Please let us know if you have questions about your pet’s dental health. Providing the best quality care is what we do, and we are happy to help you in any way possible.