Part 2: Veterinary dental radiography: a vital practice resource
Two case examples display how radiography can reveal hidden pathology.
A 4-year-old neutered male dachshund was presented for routine oral evaluation and professional teeth cleaning. No bleeding was present on probing (Photo 5). However, the radiographs showed tremendous bone loss adjacent to the distal root of the left mandibular fourth premolar (407), evidenced by the dark area around the roots (Photo 6). The lucency does not represent a void but rather a mass of infected granulation tissue (Photo 7). The true extent of the damage was evident once the diseased tissue was removed (Photo 8).
Although this tooth could be saved by veterinary dental specialists, daily brushing and alternative home care such as special diets, chews and water additives (products approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council can be found at http://vohc.org/) are prerequisites when making the decision not to extract. Frequent professional cleaning every three to six months is a required pet guardian commitment.
These case studies are just two examples of the power of veterinary dental radiography. Keep in mind that the studies mentioned earlier looked at clinically normal teeth. Imagine the hidden pathology of all of your current patients that have tartar and gingivitis.
More on the tremendous impact that dental radiography can have for your patients and your practice will be examined in the months to come.
Dentistry by Brett Beckman DVM, Dipl. ACVD, Dipl. AAPM
Dr. Beckman is acting president of the American Veterinary Dental Society and owns and operates a companion-animal and referral dentistry and oral surgery practice in Punta Gorda, Fla. He sees referrals at Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Orlando, Fla., and at Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Atlanta, lectures internationally and operates the Veterinary Dental Education Center in Punta Gorda, Fla.
1. Verstraete FJ, Kass PH, Terpak CH. Diagnostic value of full-mouth radiography in dogs. Am J Vet Res 1998;59(6):686-691.
2. Verstraete FJ, Kass PH, Terpak CH. Diagnostic value of full-mouth radiography in cats. Am J Vet Res 1998;59(6):692-695.
3. Wiggs RB, Lobprise HB. Clinical oral pathology. In: Veterinary dentistry: principles and practice. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott-Raven, 1997;131.