The Hidden Truth…I Mean Tooth…
I just performed a dental evaluation under anesthesia and was once again reminded of why dental x-rays are so very important when performing dental cleanings. It’s not that I need this validation as we, in the clinical veterinary setting, see this quite often, but it is not often that you, the pet owner, can witness this reality. A lot of dental disease is “hidden” and that is why dental radiographs are part of nearly every dental cleaning procedure here at Brooklyn Park Pet Hospital.
The main reason this patient was being anesthetized was for an eyelid tumor removal that was affecting the eye. In addition, there was obvious dental disease with mobility of the lower incisors (front of the mouth) teeth and the client authorized a dental cleaning while anesthetized for the tumor removal. Oh, and besides what was found on x-rays, the oral exam under anesthesia also revealed a mass under the base of the tongue which could not be seen during the exam when she was awake!
Here is a picture of the lower left jaw:
This is an image of the affected tooth when examined without x-rays. It doesn’t look too bad!
Here is the x-ray of that same area:
Note the black, circular lucency (arrow) surrounding the tooth roots. The bone is gone!
I hope this makes you look twice at your pet’s teeth. We always do!
Karin Christopher, DVM